A health care proxy is an agent named in a health care declaration to make medical decisions for the person signing the document (the principal) when he or she is unable to make decisions for himself or herself. A health care declaration is a written legal document that sets out how a person should be cared for in case of an emergency or incapacity. The health care proxy's authority usually includes making medical decisions not mentioned in a health care declaration, authorizing medical and surgical procedures, hiring and firing medical staff to provide treatment, accessing medical records, visiting, etc.
A health care proxy may be known by other names, such as attorney-in-fact, agent, or patient advocate.
[Last updated in March of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]