Like many residents of the Boston area, you have enjoyed a healthy and active lifestyle. As you age, though, you may acquire a variety of chronic or other medical conditions. Eventually, you may become incapable of choosing the correct approach to your own healthcare.
In Massachusetts, you can name a healthcare proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf. While state law prohibits certain individuals from serving as your proxy, you have wide latitude in choosing one. Nevertheless, some individuals make better proxies than others. Here are five qualities every healthcare proxy should have:
1. Medical comprehension
Your healthcare proxy does not need to be a doctor, nurse or another healthcare professional. Still, he or she must have a basic understanding of your medical history and healthcare needs. As such, try to find a proxy who can comprehend medical terms, prescriptions, treatment plans, diagnoses and prognoses.
2. Personal understanding
Not only must your proxy comprehend your medical situation, but he or she must also understand your wishes. Said differently, you want to select a proxy who is likely to make the same decisions you would make. Making certain the individual understands both what you want and what you do not want is essential.
Medical care is often time-sensitive. Therefore, you do not want to rely on a careless or lackadaisical proxy. Instead, opt for a designee who pays attention to details and diligently responds to changing circumstances.
Healthcare proxies must interact with you, your friends and family members, healthcare providers and others. Accordingly, you want to pick an individual who understands his or her role and respects boundaries. That is, you want to find someone who acts neither timidly nor over-assertedly.
Finally, your healthcare proxy should be an effective communicator. After all, he or she must convey your wishes to interested individuals. If you choose someone uncomfortable with verbal or written communication, your health may suffer.
While you may be perfectly capable of making healthcare decisions currently, your situation may change. If you want healthcare providers and others to respect your wishes, naming a proxy is likely a good idea. With some effort, you can likely pick the perfect individual to serve as yours.