We want you to feel empowered to make your own medical decisions, even during a time of crisis.
A healthcare surrogate is one advance directive option that makes your wishes known should you be unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate directly with your doctors.
Florida law allows you to designate another person as a health care surrogate to make all of your healthcare decisions and consult with your healthcare providers if you are unable to do so yourself. Your health care surrogate will be able to give consent for medical treatment they believe you would have wanted or that they think is in your best interest.
How to designate a healthcare surrogate.
Healthcare surrogates are often trusted, friends or family members. It’s best to discuss your decisions with a potential surrogate before signing the directive, so they are aware of your choice and they understand your wishes with respect to your medical care.
You can also choose to designate an alternate healthcare surrogate, who would take over if your first surrogate was unwilling or unable to make medical decisions for you.
Your healthcare surrogate document needs to be signed in the presence of two witnesses, including one person who is not your spouse or a blood relative. Your designated surrogate may also not act as a witness.
Changing or revoking your healthcare surrogate.
You can change or revoke your healthcare surrogate, or an advance directive, at any time.
To legally change or revoke your surrogate you may:
- Sign a date a letter indicating your intent to change or revoke your healthcare surrogate.
- Destroy the original document or ask someone to destroy it for you in your presence and at your direction.
- Tell your healthcare provider you wish to revoke or change your healthcare surrogate.
- Fill out and sign a directive that supersedes the older document.
If you have changed or revoked your healthcare surrogate document, please notify your loved ones and the healthcare providers at the hospital to ensure the changes are made.
How to get help with a healthcare surrogate document.
Whether or not to fill out a healthcare surrogate directive, and also who you choose, is solely your decision. We are available to answer any questions along the way.
Our doctors and nurses can answer questions, or you can reach out to our pastoral care or ethics committee.