What does a healthcare proxy do in Pennyslvania?

person laying in hospital bed

For many, the medical care and treatment they receive is critical. The ability to make our own decisions and ensure the care we receive reflects our wishes is often something we take for granted. However, recognizing that this may not always be possible is essential. As such, it’s imperative to ensure you have a plan in place to ensure you receive the treatment you want. Luckily, a healthcare proxy can help. If you’re unfamiliar with this, you’ll want to keep reading to discover how this works and what you can do to establish one with the help of PA advance healthcare directive attorneys.

What is a healthcare proxy?

A healthcare proxy, known officially as an advance healthcare directive in Pennsylvania, is an estate planning tool that is incredibly important for many individuals. This allows you to give someone of your choosing the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated or unable to do so yourself. This is also commonly referred to as a medical power of attorney.

In the event you become incapacitated, such as falling into a coma, or unable to make decisions on your own because you do not understand them or cannot communicate your wishes, your healthcare proxy would make the decisions for you. However, they will make decisions based on your wishes. For example, if your religious or moral beliefs prevent you from receiving certain kinds of treatment, your healthcare proxy can inform the doctors so you do not receive this kind of care. Additionally, if there are certain forms of care you wish to receive, this entity would advocate for you.

If you do not have an advance healthcare directive that names your healthcare proxy, the doctors must follow state guidelines on who can make medical decisions on your behalf.

How can I establish this?

Generally, your healthcare proxy is appointed by creating a durable advance healthcare directive. This document grants legal authority to the individual of your choice to make healthcare decisions for you. Within this document, you will permit the person of your choosing to act on your behalf as your proxy from the moment you are unable to communicate your wishes, whether this is a medical reason like falling unconscious after an accident or when a doctor determines you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions.

Additionally, these documents allow you to create terms and conditions regarding the treatment you will receive in certain circumstances to ensure your care reflects your wishes.

Creating a durable advance healthcare directive and appointing a healthcare proxy can be a complex process. As your healthcare is on the line, it’s critical to ensure you connect with an experienced attorney to discuss establishing these documents. Doing so as soon as possible can provide peace of mind for your future. At Friedman Schuman, we understand that healthcare is a personal choice. As such, we are committed to helping you protect that. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.

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