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Who Will Speak4me?


Why is it Important to Name

Someone to Speak4me?

If you are unable to express your healthcare decisions

This can happen to anyone - at any


If you:

Are in an accident

Have surgery

Or are suddenly ill

What is a Healthcare Agent?

The person you pick to make decisions about medical care

The person is authorized to speak for you ONLY if you are unable to make your own medical decisions

But I Don’t Even Know What

Decisions I Would Make

Focus on how you’d want the decisions to be made

Some considerations:

Likelihood of recovery to full or partial functioning

Whether or not you’d want to be incapacitated for a “long time”

Religious beliefs

The risks of treatments

Your overall health at the time the decisions are being made

Four Quick Tips to Speak4me

1. Select a person (and a backup) to be your healthcare agent

2. Talk to your agent and others about your wishes

3. Complete your healthcare agent document

4. Give signed copies to your agent(s), family, doctors, etc.

1. Select a Person to Be Your

Healthcare Agent

Someone who…

Knows you well

Is calm in a crisis

Is not afraid to ask questions and advocate to doctors

Can reassure and communicate with your family

Understands how you would make the decisions if you were able

2. Talk to Your Agent and Others

About Your Wishes

Explain what you are asking

Someone who can Speak4me in a healthcare crisis, know my wishes and advocate for them, communicate with family

Talk about why you picked them

Share common beliefs/values, knows you well, believe they can do it

Ask if they would be willing and able to make the decisions

Based on HOW YOU would want them made

But What Should I Say?

Tell them you have a favor that you hope you’ll never need them to do

Explain what you are asking – what a healthcare agent does

Find out if they have ever thought about care decisions at the end of life

Explain how you’d want the decisions to be made

When Should I Say it?

Find a quiet time and place

Opportunities to begin a conversation:

At family gatherings such as holidays, funerals, or simply around the dinner table

After a relevant newspaper or magazine article

Around a movie, book or TV show theme


During financial planning or a medical checkup

Conversations about end of life should be ongoing and not a one time event!

3. Complete Your Healthcare Agent


Complete the legal Medical Power of

Attorney form (also called):

“health care proxy or agent”

“health care surrogate”

“durable power of attorney for health care” www.CaringInfo.org/AdvanceDirectives

Make Sure Your Document is

Legally Valid in Your State

Download the document for your state and follow the instructions

You can complete both the living will and healthcare agent parts of the document—or simply name your healthcare agent

4. Give Signed Copies to Your

Agent(s), Family, etc

Give one to your healthcare agent, backup agent, family, roommates, friends, neighbors, doctor, etc

Ask them to review it with you and be prepared to answer any questions they may have

If someone asks “why didn’t you pick me?” explain your process



FREE Resources Available from Caring Connections

State-specific advance directives www.CaringInfo.org/Speak4me


Conversations Before the Crisis

Ask Tough Questions

End-of-Life Decisions

Communicating End-of-Life Wishes

You Have Filled Out Your Advance Directive…

Now What?