A health care proxy is a document
that delegates to an agent the authority to make health care decisions related to any treatment, service or procedure to diagnose
or treat the physical or mental condition of a patient.
Under federal law (namely HIPAA - the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), medical personnel are not supposed to share any information
with the family members of patients. While some may make exceptions in certain circumstances, it is not guaranteed.
What this also means is that family members are not entitled to make health care decisions for their incapacitated loved ones.
A health care proxy involves your family in the process of your treatment. You can designate
any adult you choose who will make medical decisions for you in the event that you are not able to make them for yourself.
These decisions include things like administering or withdrawing life support, undergoing surgery, and other serious
decisions related to your healthcare that you would want a family member to make.