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Choosing a Healthcare Advocate

Choosing your healthcare advocate is one of the most important decisions in the advance care planning process. Your healthcare advocate implements your medical power of attorney. This person is legally empowered to carry out your healthcare wishes and decisions when you are no longer able to do so. It’s vital that your healthcare advocate understand the quality of life that is important to you.

Your advocate may be a family member, close friend, or someone else you trust to make decisions in accordance with your wishes. You should have discussions with your healthcare advocate about your future medical choices, including specifics about when and what medical treatment options to have. Some questions to ask a potential advocate include:

  • Do you understand my wishes, values, and treatment goals?
  • Are you willing to follow my preferences even if others disagree?
  • Can you uphold my wishes even if others challenge my decisions?

Your wishes may change as your situation changes, and you should have an ongoing dialogue with your healthcare advocate about your choices.