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What Is A Healthcare Proxy?

New Jersey law allows you to give someone you trust (and who knows your wishes) the authority to participate in discussions with your health care provider and make treatment decisions for you. This is known as a Health Care Proxy. The individual you appoint is the only one with the legal authority to make decisions for you. Sometimes people feel that they can leave the decision to their families. However, all too often, children may have conflicting opinions or the healthy spouse is overwhelmed with making a decision which would terminate the other spouse’s life. The use of health care providers and the appointment of a health care representative is a good idea, since as our life expectancy increases it becomes more likely that each of us will have a period of time during which we will be incapable of making health care decisions for ourselves. Also, your Living Will may not have taken into account the particular treatment options and circumstances which you might face when you become unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself. It's essential that the person you choose as your health care representative has a clear sense of your feelings, attitudes and health care preferences. Most often, people choose a family member, close friend, clergyman or health care provider to serve as their health care representative. Your attending physician cannot serve as both your physician and your health care representative. It is also important to name an alternate agent. Your spouse, partner or family member may be injured in the same accident. What then? The designation of an alternate agent will resolve that problem.


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