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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 age

– 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

– Sermons

– 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

• Brochures:

– 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?