When you decide to make a healthcare power of attorney or healthcare proxy, you get to choose someone who will make your healthcare choices if you are ever incapacitated and cannot make them yourself. This person, known as your healthcare agent or healthcare representative, should be someone you trust. Here are the traits you want to look for when selecting your representative.
Your agent will have to make medical decisions for you. Some of these decisions can be very difficult and may require your agent to have detailed discussions about complicated medical procedures or conditions. Someone who is uncomfortable making hard decisions is not someone you should choose.
Healthcare agents need to be able to make a decision despite the pressure from other friends or family members who may want the agent to make a decision that is not what you would’ve wanted. In such a situation it is easy for family conflicts to arise. Once the agent has made a decision, he or she must be able to express that decision to others in a diplomatic fashion. Being autocratic and dictatorial in such a situation will likely lead to hurt feelings and possibly long-term family conflict.
Ability to Act Alone
You should never name more than one healthcare agent, though you should name alternates in case your original choice cannot serve. Because of this, your agent will need to be comfortable making decisions on his or her own. Though the agent can consult with others, he or she always has the final decision.