What is a healthcare surrogate?

A health care surrogate is the person you appoint to make medical decisions on your behalf. A written health care surrogate avoids any dispute over who makes the decisions regarding your medical treatment.

What happens if I don’t have a healthcare surrogate?

Chaos can happen if you do not have a healthcare surrogate. When no written healthcare surrogate is available, family members may engage in costly court battles to determine what your healthcare wishes were and who has the ability to make them. Essentially, by not having a written health care surrogate, you are exposing your healthcare wishes and decision-making to people who may believe they know what you wanted when in all actuality, they have no knowledge of it. Appoint a person in writing as your health care surrogate to avoid any unnecessary delay or fighting regarding your health care decisions.

How do I know if my incapacitated parent has been designated a healthcare surrogate?

If you are unaware of whether or not your parent designated a healthcare surrogate and said parent is incapacitated or unable to make medical decisions, than you have three options:

  1. Contact an attorney if you are aware that your parent has visited them previously.
  2. Contact all doctors and request information on whether or not said parent has been designated a health care surrogate as this may be indicated in their files.
  3. Search your parent’s personal belongings for a written health care surrogate in their own documents.

What are advanced healthcare directives?

If you are incapacitated or unable to make a health care decision, advanced healthcare directives notify your doctor that you have chosen a third party to make that decision. Advanced health care directives are also referred to as healthcare surrogates. Healthcare surrogate forms are necessary legal documents if you want to avoid having family members or loved ones fight about the best course of treatment for you. However, the healthcare surrogate can also keep the government from intruding into your health care wants. Every person should designate a third party to carry out their healthcare directives.