In the event an individual cannot make a health care decision for himself or herself, a health care agent can legally make these important decisions on his or her behalf. The individual can appoint nearly any adult to be his or her health care agent, with the exception of his or her physician or anyone else connected with the treatment facility.

A health care agent cannot make decisions outside the individual’s health care preferences specified in a living will, but a health care agent can make other important medical decisions on the individual’s behalf. Health care agents not only make end-of-life decisions, but he or she may also consult with physicians to decide which treatment options are best for the individual if he or she is in critical condition resulting from an accident or traumatic event.