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How to choose a health care agent

What is a health care agent?
A health care agent is an individual who you choose to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. These decisions may be about end-of-life care. 

How do I choose a health care agent?
When thinking about choosing someone to speak on your behalf consider the following questions:

  • Would this person be willing to be a health care agent?
  • Can I talk to this person about the decisions I made about my care and the goals and values behind them?
  • Will this person do what I want even if they disagree with it?
  • Can this person make medical decisions in what could be a difficult situation? 

You can choose a family member, close friend, minister, priest or rabbi. You should name one person as your agent. Then choose two alternates. You need backup individuals in case your first choice can’t be reached when needed. Talk to each person you are thinking of naming as your agent or alternate. Do this before you decide who should carry out your wishes. 

Your agent should be:

  • An adult, 18 years or older
  • Someone you trust and can talk to about the care you want and what is important to you
  • Someone who supports your treatment choices

Resources:
An agent’s role PDF
Information for agent PDF
Advance directive form PDF

To learn more, please contact:

Bemidji
Advance Care Planning Program
(218) 333-6060
acp.bemidji@sanfordhealth.org

Bismarck
Advance Care Planning Program
(701) 323-1ACP (1227)
acp.bismarck@sanfordhealth.org

Fargo
Spiritual Care
(701) 234-6980
acp.fargo@sanfordhealth.org

Sioux Falls
DeGroot Center
(605) 312-3520
acp.siouxfalls@sanfordhealth.org