Everybody needs a Proxy™

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Everybody Needs a Proxy is a community-based campaign initiated and organized by the Westchester End-of-Life Coalition to promote the signing of Health Care Proxies in Westchester. The campaign is directed at community, educational and civic organizations, as well as businesses and individuals.

The goal of the Everybody Needs a Proxy campaign is to help people think about their health care wishes and whom they would want as their health care proxy (agent), and to assist people in the process of completing a Health Care Proxy form. To this end, the Westchester-End-of-Life Coalition has trained volunteers who are available to

– give presentations at civic groups, schools, congregations and offices;

– offer assistance at open sessions in public places in the community;

– meet with people in small groups or on an individual basis

To schedule a volunteer to come to you and to learn about the locations and times for the open sessions, please contact us.

Everybody Needs a Proxy campaign is funded by communities and groups wishing to educate and assist people over age 18 about health care proxies. The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Inc.. has been an early and continuing supporter of this effort in zip codes 10707, 10708, and 10709. The Coalition continues to look for funding from a variety of sources for this campaign. Please, contact us with information about other sources of support.

New York State Health Care Proxies

A Health Care Proxy helps you receive the medical care you would want in case you lose capacity to make health care decisions for yourself. In a Health Care Proxy form, you designate an “agent” who is legally empowered to speak on your behalf if you yourself become unable to do so. If, for example, you become comatose after a serious accident, have an incapacitating heart attack or stroke, experience dementia, or are at the very end of life and cannot speak for yourself, the agent you appoint becomes your legal voice.

In New York only about a quarter of the adult population has a Health Care Proxy. Health Care Proxies help minimize conflicts among a patient’s loved ones. Recent harrowing court cases featured in the news – e.g. the case of Terri Schiavo in Florida – illustrate how the lack of written advanced directives can create major conflicts among caring family members, each claiming to act in the best interest of the patient and to know what the patient would have wanted.

Ideally, the completion of a Health Care Proxy leads to discussion among family members about wishes regarding treatment and critical care in extreme medical circumstances and at the end of life.

Filling out a Health Care Proxy is simple and requires no legal expertise.  For further information (including a printable copy of the NYS Health Care Proxy), visit WELC’s Live with Care website.