Another important document that you should consider doing is called a healthcare proxy, A healthcare proxy authorizes a specific person to act as your “healthcare representative” and to make medical decisions for you or for the patient if he or she is unable to do so. This simple document will help to eliminate any confusion or agravation among family or friends whe the question arises regarding who should be making important decisions for the incapacitated patient, whether it’s you or a loved one. A healthcare proxy does not have to be a family member but should be a person who can make informed and responsible decisions on his/her own in the best interest of the patient and in keeping with the patient’s wishes, if known.
An advance directive form or healthcare proxy can be obtained from your doctor, or at the hopital at admission, or just ask a nurse or hospital staff person.
It’s a Federal law that hospital patients must be asked if they have a living will, and if not, if they would like more information.
Although it’s recommended that a person complete an advance directive, doing so is completely voluntary.