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End-of-Life Decision Making (cont.)

Appoint a Decision Maker

Who should be your designated health care decision maker?

In a document separate from your advance directive, name a particular person to be your health care decision maker. Name an alternate in case the first person named is unable to be your health care surrogate when the time comes.

  • That document is called a Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Care. It will be your best protection when it comes to implementing your wishes during a difficult time.
  • The document naming a health care agent is particularly important if you'd prefer a nonrelative to make your health care decisions for you. If you don't name a nonrelative, the hospital will usually seek out the closest relative or the courts will name a relative if there's one available. This might not be the person you would like as a decision maker. For example, a couple (technically, not related) who live together but who are not married may wish to make each other their health care decision makers.

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