A health care surrogate is somewhat similar to a power of attorney granted to an individual. They are responsible for decision making on behalf of an individual that may no longer be able to make the medical decisions necessary to nurse them back to health or provide for conditions that they may have. If you have any instructions that you wish to be carried out once you are incapable of making medical decisions for yourself, your surrogate will stand in and make sure these instructions are followed out as you have requested them.
It is advised that you choose representatives within the health care professions to act with respect as to your legal, emotional, and ethic wishes. They will be able to respect your instructions perfectly, whereas a group of individuals that you have no prior involvement with might not understand certain instructions and perform them unsatisfactory.
The Major Difference between a Health Care Surrogate and Power of Attorney
The health care proxy, or power of attorney, may be previously designated to a certain individual, such as a lawyer or family member. They will act in your place when you are incapable of doing so, as you stated in the living will. If you do not have a living will the health care surrogate is automatically appointed as the person to choose what is in your best interests with medical decisions. Some surrogates may continue to provide decision making skills when it comes to financial situations such as paying the bills on the residence of the individual or continuing care or regular payments.
There are many instances where someone might not be given the chance to appoint a power of attorney. These incidents normally are those that happen suddenly such as personal injuries, being hurt on the job, or being the victim of a injuring car accident. This can cause complications within the decision making process for your medical treatment if you have not appointed a power of attorney. A health care surrogate may step in to help with the decision making process. In many states, your spouse is allowed to serve as the decision maker if they can prove to be married to the victim.
If you or a loved one is questioning whether or not you can be the decision maker if and when the time comes, contact a professional attorney that can help you create a living will. The living will can serve as a contract appointing who you would like to be the decision maker in case you are incapable of doing so with a sound mind.