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Making medical decisions for someone you love: Your rights

Written by Diane Archer

You shouldn’t have to pull strings to be able to make medical decisions on behalf of the people you love if they are unable to make them for themselves. And, it should be easy if you’ve been named their health care proxy. But, without a written health care proxy, it could be hard to make medical decisions for the people you love or even to speak with their doctors about their medical conditions.

If there’s no legal document naming you as the health care proxy, sometimes called an “advance directive,” whether you have the right to act on behalf of someone you love depends on state law, even if you’re the caregiver. Some states allow next of kin to act on behalf of a patient who is unable to make medical decisions. However, if the next of kin disagree on the treatment, you might have to go to court to settle the matter.

If there is no health care proxy, in many cases the doctor and hospital staff end up responsible for making medical decisions. Click here to learn about advance care planning and how to get a free health care proxy document for you and the people you love. For sure, advance care planning is important for end-of-life care.

And, if you’d like to learn more about why you should have an advance directive, click here.

 

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