Health Care Agents Matter – More Than You May Think!
Health care agents (or surrogates/proxies/powers of attorney) play a much bigger role in fulfilling your clients’ health care wishes than you or your clients may realize.
Did you know:
- Health care agents make medical decisions for about half of the adults over 65 who are hospitalized. Flipping it around, this means that on average, half your clients over 65 who are admitted to a hospital will be unable to make at least some of their own medical decisions.
- In more than half of the instances where an agent must act, the agent is making decisions about life-sustaining treatments.
- In about a quarter of cases, the health care agent is making all medical decisions for the patient.
These statistics make it clear that choosing a surrogate decision-maker should entail a client giving serious, deliberate thought to who will best represent their interests and wishes. As we know, the “logical” family member may — or may not — serve us best. A spouse is not always the best choice. The oldest adult child is not necessarily the best choice. Naming all adult children as co-agents is almost always not the best choice. Sometimes the best person is not even a blood relative.
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