Whether you are an older adult preparing for end of life issues or the possibility of becoming incapacitated or you want to help a family member prepare for challenges that could arise later on, it is crucial to go over your options.
In New York, the state’s Health Care Proxy law allows people to appoint health care agents who can play an important role in an individual’s life if they become incapacitated.
Reviewing the decisions health care agents can make
According to the New York State Office of the Attorney General, if you appoint a health care agent, they can make a number of important decisions for you if you become incapacitated due to a physical or mental disability. For example, health care agents can make medical decisions and decide whether to resuscitate an individual if their heart stops beating.
If someone needs a feeding tube for food and water, health care agents can make decisions regarding artificial nutrition.
Reviewing when health care agent decisions are overridden
Although health care agents have the ability to make crucial decisions in someone’s life, there are times when their decisions are overridden. For example, in some intances a facility or a loved one is able to secure a court order ruling against the health care agent’s decision.
Moreover, in your Health Care Proxy form, you can stipulate that your health care agent cannot make decisions regarding CPR, in which case they do not have the authority to decide whether to restart your heart. It is important to understand the abilities health care agents have and make the best decisions for your future.