You, the patient, have the right to be informed about your condition and accept or refuse the treatment available. However, there may be times when you are not able to speak for yourself and your family and/or your friends will need to know how to handle these situations.
There are ways you can still have your wishes followed if that should happen. The following forms can ensure that your wishes about your health care treatment are followed.
Health Care Proxy
The New York Healthcare Proxy Law enables you to appoint someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend, to make decisions about your care in the event you lose the ability to decide for yourself. It becomes effective any time you are unable to make your own medical decisions.
The person you select is called your health care agent. You can give this person as little or as much authority as you want. You can allow your health care agent to decide about all health care decisions or only about certain treatments. You agent can then make sure that health care professionals follow your wishes and can decide how your wishes apply as your medical condition changes. Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers must follow your agent's decisions as if they were your own.
A Health Care Proxy form is included in the booklet entitled “Your Rights As a Hospital Patient,” which you receive when you are admitted. You may also ask your nurse for a copy of this form, or download the form by clicking here. You do not need a lawyer to complete this form, just two adult witnesses.
NYS Health Care Proxy form- English
NYS Health Care Proxy form- Spanish
NYS Health Care Proxy form- Russian
A living will is a document that provides specific instructions about what kind of health care treatment you wish to receive. It is generally used to declare one’s wishes to refuse life-sustaining treatment and the circumstances that determine when those decisions should be made. A copy of a living will for NYS can be downloaded by clicking here
The following websites have extensive information regarding the use of Health Care Proxys and Living Wills. You may wish to use them as additional resources: