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What To Discuss With A Healthcare Proxy

Step 1. Think through what you do, and do not, want if there are medical decisions to be made and you cannot communicate your wishes.

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Before having any discussion with the person you want to be your proxy, think through your values today - the things you care about. Then think about specifics.

Examples of values to think through include:

  • What do you most value about your physical or mental well being?
  • What are your fears regarding the end of life? For example:
    • Being in pain.
    • Losing the ability to think.
    • Losing the ability to take care of yourself (such as dressing, bathing, and eating).
    • Losing the ability to get around on your own.
    • Being a financial burden.
  • Would you want hospice care - care which only takes care of your comfort and stops fighting to cure your medical condition? (To learn more, see: Hospice Care.)
  • What gives life meaning and purpose for you?
  • What religious or spiritual concepts are overriding for you? How do those concepts translate into practical terms? (For instance, does your religion forbid blood transfusions under any circumstances? Does it require you to do everything humanly possible to prolong life so that turning off an assistive machine is is forbidden?)

    For specifics to consider, see: What Would I Want To Happen?

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