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What is a healthcare agent?

A healthcare agent is a person you name in your advance medical directive to make medical treatment decisions for you if you ever become too sick or injured to make or communicate those decisions for yourself, or if a court ever declares you to be incompetent. We recommend that you name a primary healthcare agent and at least one alternate healthcare agent (preferably two) in case your primary healthcare agent is unwilling or unable to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf when needed.

A healthcare agent may also be called a surrogate, attorney-in-fact, or proxy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.