Who will make your medical decisions for you if you ever become unable to make them yourself? This may be a question you want to avoid, but creating a health care directive before you face a serious emergency or illness ensures the following of your wishes. Appointing a health care representative can give you and your family peace of mind if such an unfortunate event should occur.
If you do not appoint a representative, your family and health care providers may disagree about decisions. How do you choose the right person? Here are the most important questions you should ask yourself when considering a candidate.
1. Can this person make decisions under pressure?
Making decisions about health care for someone who is mentally incapacitated or seriously injured can be stressful. A proxy may face various opinions and pressures from family members. The person you choose must be able to focus on your wishes in your health care directive instead of letting others sway his or her decisions.
2. Can this person meet with your health care providers?
While your health care representative may be able to make some decisions after talking to your doctor on the phone, it is ideal for him or her to be present when making important decisions. This means you may want to choose someone who lives close to you. Also be wary of people whose jobs may prevent them from meeting with your providers, such as someone who is on the road a lot for work.
3. Does this person understand your values?
Whether you are religious or not, you probably have certain values you care about. You should be confident that this person will carry out your desires. The person you choose does not necessarily need to share your exact values, but should have a clear understanding of your beliefs, respect your wishes and be willing to carry them out.