As you get older, the possibility that you will become disabled or too ill to make your own health care decisions will increase. That is why many people name someone to serve as their health care agent. Also known as a surrogate or a representative, a health care agent can direct doctors to give you care according to your wishes.
Choosing your agent will be a crucial decision. You need somebody both competent and trustworthy to make decisions on your behalf. WebMD describes qualities worth looking for in an agent.
Someone who knows you and your beliefs
Whoever acts as your agent should have a very good idea of what you would want in a given situation. Ideally, your agent would be a family member, perhaps someone who has lived with you for a long time. Your surrogate should also know your beliefs concerning sensitive issues like end-of-life care and restitution measures like CPR.
Someone who can advocate for you
Your agent will probably have to talk to your physicians about different matters concerning your care. Your agent should press your point of view when it comes to your care and ask questions of doctors when necessary. Basically, your agent should have a strong enough personality and drive to deal with tough situations.
Someone in good health
The person you choose as your agent should be healthy and vigorous enough to act on your behalf. This is why some parents pick children to be their agents since they are likely to be in good health when the time comes to carry out their duties. However, if you must choose a peer, at least consider a backup agent. In the event ill-health incapacitates your first choice, your backup can step in.
Considering these questions may help you make the most informed decision possible. However, you choose your agent, be sure that your selection reflects your personal priorities.