Patients & Families

Important Documents

Health Care Proxy

A completed health care proxy is a legal document that allows you to name a trusted family or friend as your agent to make medical decisions in the event that you are unable to do so.

We recommend that you download and print out the New York Health Care Proxy form before your stay at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Living Will

A living will is a legal document that allows you to control your wishes regarding your health care in the event that you are unable to do so. When paired with a completed New York Health Care Proxy form you retain control over who makes important decisions on your behalf and what decisions they will make.

We recommend that you download, print and sign a copy of a living will before your stay at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Advice from Your Health Care Team

It’s important to us that we provide medical care that embraces you with comfort and support. That’s why we stress the importance of completing a health care proxy and living will. These documents can provide additional reassurance to you and your loved ones during an unsettling time. In the event you lose the ability to communicate, your wishes regarding your medical care will still be respected.

It’s an excellent step to have a health care proxy and living will. However, by giving a copy of each to the following list of people, you can have even greater confidence that your wishes will be followed. We suggest you share your proxy with:

  • The person you choose to be your agent.
  • Your doctor.
  • Your support person(s).
  • While not absolutely necessary, we also recommend that you keep a copy of your proxy in the following places:
  • In your wallet.
  • With your important papers at home.
  • With the paperwork you bring to the hospital.

Important Facts about the New York Health Care Proxy

  • Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers must follow your agent's decisions as if they were your own.
  • Your agent can have as much or as little authority as you want.
  • You can allow your agent to decide about all health care or only certain treatments (for example: dialysis, transplantation and artificial respiration).
  • The form covers stopping or avoiding treatment as well as receiving it.
  • Your agent can interpret your wishes as your medical condition changes.
  • Your form is valid indefinitely. If you wish to change the person you have chosen, simply fill out a new Health Care Proxy form.
  • If you choose a spouse and later become legally separated or divorced, your spouse’s appointment is automatically cancelled.

Learn more about other sensitive end-of-life decisions.