You can decide what happens with your health care. If you become unable to communicate your health care decisions, your health care provider may not always know your values, preferences, or other important details affecting your decisions. This document allows you to choose a person(s), called a Health Care Agent, to be your voice and communicate health care decisions you would make for yourself.

What is a Health Care Agent?

This is the person(s) you choose and authorize to consult with your health care team about your health care decisions if you are unable to communicate for yourself. This document does not authorize your Health Care Agent to make financial or business decisions for you. It does not give your Health Care Agent authority to make decisions about your mental health treatment.

Who should I choose as my Health Care Agent?

Your Health Care Agent must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Not be your health care provider or an employee at your hospital, clinic, or other place where you receive care (unless he/she is a close relative).
  • Carry out your instructions on this document and follow the health care choices you make on the document Living Will for Health Care (even if he or she does not agree with them).
  • Carry out any other health care instructions you have discussed with him/her.

What does a Health Care Agent do?

  • Understand the role of a Health Care Agent.
  • Accept this role.
  • Talk with you about your goals, values and preferences.
  • Follow your decisions, even if he/she does not agree.
  • Make decisions in difficult or stressful moments according to your instructions.
  • Make decisions in your best interest that reflect your goals, values and preferences.

Can I change my mind later about my decisions in this document?

Yes, you may change your mind and make changes to this document at any time. If you make changes, please give copies of your revised document to your new and previous Health Care Agent(s), your health care providers, and any others who may have an outdated copy.

If you name your spouse as your Health Care Agent (or Alternate) and your marriage is later annulled or you are divorced, the designation of your spouse as Health Care Agent or Alternate is no longer valid. You may name your ex-spouse as your Health Care Agent (or Alternate) only if you complete the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care document again after your annulment or divorce.