In starting the advance care planning process, anticipating every single medical scenario is virtually impossible. Hence, naming a health care proxy is arguably the most important part of the process. Through our 'Will You Share Your Story?' campaign this year, NHDD Advocate Kathy Plakovic shared her experience with this part of the process. So here's Kathy's story: 

Completing a health care proxy form and choosing your health care agent is one of the most important decisions you can make. Most people that take the time to complete the paperwork choose their spouse. Sometimes that is not the best decision...I would like to share my story about choosing a health care agent.

Your health care agent is the person that will make decisions for you when you are unable to make them for yourself. It should be someone that knows what your wishes are AND is able to carry them out. When I decided to complete a health care proxy form, I chose my sister as my health care agent. She and I have had many conversations about what life and quality of life means to us as individuals. While I have also had these conversations with my spouse, I feared that he would not be able to carry out my wishes and would ask my doctors to ""do everything"" to keep me alive (as I am the love of his life and the mother of his child).

 My decision to appoint my sister, instead of my spouse, led to some serious conversations. In the end, my spouse acknowledged that in the heat of the moment he was not sure he would be able to make the tough choices necessary to respect my wishes.

Please take the time to appoint a health care agent, but also take the time to speak to that person about your wishes and make sure they are able to talk to your health care providers about what is important to you if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Photo from She Knows