Hospice of the West Highlights Value of Knowing How to Choose the Right Healthcare Proxy for Medical and End-of-Life Decisions
Hospice of the West (HOW), a leading community-based hospice and palliative care organization in Maricopa County, Arizona, urges all Americans, regardless of age, to understand the far-reaching importance of choosing the right healthcare proxy. Also known as a healthcare agent or medical power of attorney, the healthcare proxy makes decisions on behalf of the individual when they are too sick to make their own decisions, adhering to advance directives and personal goals of care, talking with physicians, consulting medical records and making decisions about tests, procedures and treatments.
“Many people – including half of people over 65 who are admitted to the hospital – are unable to make healthcare decisions for themselves at a time when they need the most help,” says Rhea Go-Coloma, LMSW, chief administrative officer, HOW. “NHDD exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. We join their commitment in encouraging patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.”
She advises everyone 18 years or older to choose a healthcare proxy and review that choice at the start of each decade – at the age of 30, 40, 50, 60 and on. The proxy choice should also be reviewed after major life changes, such as getting married or divorced, having children, going on a major trip or after being diagnosed with a serious illness.
The proxy should be someone who knows the individual well, can remain calm in a crisis, is able to communicate well with physicians and convey information with family members. A proxy can be a close relative or friend but should be someone who can be trusted.
“Choosing a healthcare proxy can be an overwhelming decision, but it’s critical to ensure that medical and end-of-life wishes are followed,” Go-Coloma adds.
About Hospice of the West
Hospice of the West is a community based Hospice and Palliative Care organization based in Maricopa County, Arizona and is committed to serving the unique needs of individuals facing a serious illness and providing ongoing support to patient families and loved ones. http://hospicewestaz.com/