People who live in New York and are perfectly healthy may not be thinking about future medical issues. However, in the event something happens  n which they are unable to make healthcare decisions on their own, it is very helpful to have someone in their corner to make choices for them. This is why people choose a health proxy.

According to the New York State Department of Health, a health proxy ensures a medical team respects one’s values and wishes in regard to healthcare decisions. A proxy only makes these decisions when someone is unable to function on his or her own. Some examples of these situations include:

  • Dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • Coma from illness or accident
  • Inability to communicate due to illness or accident
  • State of vegetation
  • Under anesthesia
  • Terminal illness

Because the proxy needs to follow the specific wishes of the patient, Forbes discusses that it is important to choose the right person. The patient should choose someone who is trustworthy and will follow the wants of the patient, even if they differ from the proxy’s values and wishes.

A good health proxy should also have some guts and know what questions to ask in complicated situations. He or she must stand up for the patient and not be afraid to inquire about certain procedures and medication even when the medical providers are busy. They should also be able to put their own emotions aside to make decisions on behalf of the patient.

A health proxy may also be more than one person. A group may be able to make the best decisions by combining medical and personal knowledge.