Even if you have enjoyed good health throughout most or all of your life, you may eventually become incapable of communicating your health care wishes to doctors and other caregivers. According to the New York State Department of Health, your incapacitation may be due to a coma, a catastrophic injury, an unexpected illness or other reasons.
By designating a health care proxy, you have someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you cannot make them for yourself. New York law places few restrictions on who may serve as a health care proxy, so you are free to choose just about anyone you want to serve in the role.
Have your values changed?
If you have named a health care proxy, you are already doing better than many New Yorkers. Still, if your values have changed, your existing proxy may no longer be a good fit. This is especially true if your current proxy disagrees with your wishes or refuses to advocate for them.
Has your proxy moved?
With both medicine and end-of-life care, minutes often matter. If your health care proxy has moved or is otherwise unreachable, he or she may not be able to do the job effectively. While it is probably not necessary to have a proxy who lives close to you, your doctors should be able to contact him or her quickly.
Do you trust your proxy?
Personal relationships have the tendency to change frequently. If your health care proxy has violated your trust or become unfriendly, you may no longer feel comfortable having the person make medical decisions for you.
You do not want to have the wrong health care proxy when you most need the right one. Ultimately, by regularly reviewing your designation, you can be certain you have selected the appropriate person to advocate for your medical interests.