Health Care Proxy
At the STAR Health Center we encourage you to complete a Health Care Proxy that will allow you to appoint someone you trust – such as a spouse, partner, family member or close friend – to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. The person you ask to speak for you is called a health care agent. This person can make sure that health care providers follow your wishes, and can also 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. You may give your health care agent as little or as much authority as you want. You may allow your agent to make all health care decisions or only certain ones. You may also give your agent specific instructions that he or she has to follow. A health care proxy will ensure that your health care provider:
- Acts in accordance with your personal, cultural or religious values and beliefs
- Knows what to do if something unexpected happens and you are temporarily unable to make a decision about your health care (such as an accident that leaves you unconscious)
- Knows what to do if you are permanently unable to make a decision about your health care (for example, if you are comatose or suffering from an illness that makes you unable to communicate)
You may never need someone to act on your behalf, but it is always better to be prepared to ensure that you receive the care you want in the manner you want it.
For more information, speak to your health care provider, case manager or counselor. You may also download information and forms from the New York State Department of Health.