What makes a good health proxy?

Medical Paperwork

Being somebody's health proxy is an honor - and a very serious task indeed. It's important to think carefully about who you want to be your health proxy. In this article, we have collected a few things to consider. 

What is a 'health proxy'?

Health proxies are called a number of different things, but it usually refers to the person who can make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make decisions yourself. 

Some of the names you may come across include:

  • Health Proxy
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Persistent Power of Attorney
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Advocate
  • Medical Proxy
  • Medical Advocate

In most cases, all of the above terms are synonymous with each other, but there may be legal nuances that differ from state to state and from country to country. 

At LifeFolder, we refer to all of the above as a Health Proxy. 

How do I choose my health proxy? 

They should be close by. When doctors need to talk to a proxy, the clock is ticking. It is helpful if your proxy lives close to you. If they live half-way around the world, in a different time zone, it can take a long time to get to you when you need them.

They can’t be shy. Your proxy needs to be somebody who is willing to pick a fight for you. Sometimes, doctors may try to convince you to do something you don’t want. If you’re able to argue your own case, you can make your wishes known. If you are unable to make your wishes known, that task falls to your health proxy. The doctor may try to talk your proxy into something you wouldn’t have wanted to happen. Your proxy needs to be bold enough to say “no”, push back, and insist they follow your wishes.

They have to respect your wishes. Above all, you should pick a proxy who will respect your wishes. If you disagree on something about health, that is OK, of course. It is still important that they are pushing for what you want, even if it is different from what they want for themselves.

How can I appoint a health proxy?

We have created a chatbot - Emily - that is designed to help talk you through how you choose a health proxy. Once you've finished the conversation, Emily will generate the legal paperwork you need in order to appoint your proxy.