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What Is A Health Care Proxy?

A health care proxy is a legal document that designates a trusted relative or friend to make health care decisions for you if, because of an illness or accident, you’re incapable of making or communicating them yourself. The Massachusetts Health Care Proxy Law (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 201D) permits people to appoint a Health Care Proxy (called an “Agent” in the law) using the Health Care Proxy Form. Health care providers and facilities are bound to follow your Agent’s decisions as if they were your own. You are free to choose almost anyone as an Agent, but it is important that you discuss your treatment preferences with your Agent. You may also write on the form certain treatments that you do or do not want, or limit the authority of your Agent. You may also appoint an Alternate Agent, in case your Agent is unavailable or unable to make decisions regarding your care.