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Even if your family is involved in helping you make medical treatment
decisions, it is still important to choose one person to be your
health care agent. If you want one family member to be
able to make medical treatment decisions for you, appoint that person as your
agent. Your family's right to make decisions for you may be limited unless you
have legally appointed a health care agent.
Most states allow you to choose only one person at a time to be your
health care agent. Typically, your doctor cannot be your health care agent. In
some states, a person who works at the health care facility where you might be
treated may not be your agent, unless you are related to the person by blood or
You may choose:
If your state allows, choose one or two alternate agents who can
fill the role if your primary agent is not available or is not able to do
Choosing your health care agent is an important decision. Not
everyone will be comfortable taking on this responsibility, so talk openly with
the person you choose before completing the process. Consider choosing someone
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
& Shelly R. Garone, MD, FACP - Palliative Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
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