Appointing a healthcare agent in advance and making medical decisions in writing is the best way to ensure that your wishes are respected when you’re not able to speak for yourself. In Connecticut, this can be done by creating an Advance Directive, a legal document in which you can appoint a healthcare agent, specify what medical treatments or life support you want (or don’t want) if you are terminally ill or in a permanent coma, and appoint a conservator (someone who will make sure you are properly cared for if you aren’t able to make those decisions yourself).
So how do you choose the right person? This is not an easy decision! Does the person you have in mind know you well and understand what is important to you? Will he or she be able to separate his or her own feelings from yours? Will he or she be able to handle conflicting opinions between family members, friends, and medical providers? Can this person stand up to an unresponsive doctor? In addition, you should probably have not one but two people who fit the criteria! It’s always best to name one person as your healthcare agent, with at least one successor (or back-up person) in case your first choice is not available when needed.
Click on the button below for a great tool from the American Bar Association to help you make the right decision!