Designation of Health Care Surrogate
Wheras the Durable Power of Attorney is a Power of Attorney for financial decisions,
a "Designation of Health Care Surrogate" is a Power of Attorney for health care decisions.
The Designation of health Care Surrogate is a document created by Florida Statue and is
relatively new (1990). It establishes an individual"s right to choose for himself and to
name agents for making health care decisions in case of the principal's inability to do so.
Under Florida Statues Section 765.205, the powers that can be delegated to the surrogate
include general authority to act for the principal and to make decisions in the health
care area; to provide informed consent for health care; to be provided access to the
principal's medical records; to apply for benefits on the principal's behalf; and to
authorize the admission or transfer of the principal to or from a health care facility.
When you designate someone to have this special Power of Attorney, you are giving them a
powerful tool. The person you designate will make health care decisions for you should the
time come when you are unable to make them for yourself. Whomever you designate as your Health
Care Surrogate will have more power and authority over your person, with regard to health care,
than your spouse. This is another instance where you must make a choice. If you don't it will
be made by someone else. Generally, lacking a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, health
care decisions will first be made by a spouse, then other family members, and finally, by
people you do not even know.
If you do not make a choice, you may have two or more family members arguing about what
your care should be. The selection of a Health Care Surrogate ensures that your wishes are
carried out and your best interests are looked after.
Order of Appointment for Health Care Surrogate
- Someone you select as your Designated Health Care Surrogate
- A judicially appointed guardian
- The spouse
- An adult child
- A parent
- An adult sibling of the patient or a majority thereof
- An adult relative who has maintained regular contact
- A close friend