Health Care Surrogate vs. Health Care Proxy.
It is easy to confuse the terms “health care surrogate” and “health care proxy”, since they are both people who can make medical decisions for another person. An important difference between them is that, with a health care surrogate, you get to decide who your medical decision-maker will be. A Health Care Surrogate Designation form is signed by you and two witnesses. You can also name an alternate health care surrogate. If your named health care surrogate and alternate surrogate are not willing, able, or reasonably available to serve, or if you have not named one, then the health care facility will choose a health care proxy. A health care facility must follow an order of priority in naming a health care proxy, starting with your legal guardian (if you have one), then your spouse, your adult child, your parent, and so on. This order of priority is determined by Florida law and may not align with who you would wish to be your medical decision-maker.
A Health Care Surrogate Designation is a document commonly prepared alongside your will, power of attorney, and other advance directives, but it can also be prepared and executed on its own.
It is an important document to have in order to ease difficult decision making for your loved ones, to eliminate confusion, and for you to have the peace of mind that your wishes have been clearly written.