Making Your Health Care Wishes Known
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.