As a service member, you served others. As a veteran, it is time to allow others to serve you.

When it comes to your care plan, selecting a health care agent is a critical decision. To aid in this process, there are a few considerations that you must think about.

Purpose

A health care agent is someone who makes decisions for you about your health when you are not able to do so for yourself. This includes selecting your doctor and care facility, accepting medical treatment, releasing medical records, and consenting to organ donation and autopsy. 

Qualifications

There are a few legal qualifications that a health care agent must meet. This includes the individual being at least 18 years of age, and not being your employee or your health care provider, unless he or she is your spouse or close relative.

Along with the legal requirements, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind. The health care agent should be someone that you trust to fulfill your wishes and to act as you would. Therefore, you should be confident that he or she understands and respects your wishes. You should also make sure that your agent has the mental and emotional stability to make the necessary medical decisions for you.

After selection

Once you select your health care agent, make sure to inform your other close relatives. It may also be beneficial to select a secondary health care agent in the case that the primary agent is unable to fulfill the duties. Provide your agent with a copy of your advance directive and make sure that he or she understands it. In the case that things change, you may need to select a new health care agent, at which point you will need to create a revision to your advance directive and provide it to your new agent.