A healthcare proxy is a legal document through which a person appoints another person or a legal entity to make specific decisions related to their healthcare on their behalf in the event that they become mentally incapacitated, unconscious, or incapable of sound judgment.
Individuals may create healthcare proxies in order to be able to participate in their healthcare by proxy even when they are no longer physically capable of participating.
Example: A person experiencing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease wants to make sure that they are properly cared for even when the disease advances to the point that they are not fully aware of their situation. They create a healthcare proxy by which they appoint their child to make medical decisions on their behalf. By doing so, they protect themselves from being subjected to treatments or healthcare expenses which they would not agree to.