Ask someone to be your health care agent or proxy. Be sure your proxy knows your wishes and if you make any changes in your health care choices.
As your life or health changes, you may also change your health care decisions. You can change or cancel an advanced care directive at any time.
Making the Decision for a Loved One
You may serve as a health care agent or proxy for someone else. In that role you may have to make the decision to start or remove life support machines. It is a very hard decision to make.
If you need to make a decision about stopping treatment for a loved one:
Talk to their doctor.
Review the goals of their medical care.
Weigh the benefits and burdens of treatments on your loved one’s health.
Think about your loved one’s wishes and values.
Seek advice from other health care professionals, such as a social worker.
Seek advice from your loved one’s family members.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.