Cona Elder Law


Health Care Proxy: A Must for College Age Children


As published in the Long Island Press, on and

Imagine this scenario: You are the parent of a college student. Your telephone rings one evening and on the other end is your child’s roommate telling you that your child was just rushed to the emergency room. You call the hospital for information and identify yourself as the parent. The hospital advises you that because your child is 18, they cannot provide you with any information.

It is at that moment that you realize that you have as much of a chance of getting healthcare information about a stranger as you do your own child.

Although this is the last thing a family wants to think about when preparing a child for college or helping a young person after college, the risk is undeniable. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hundreds of thousands of young adults are hospitalized each year. The question is, do you want to be in the know, with access to information and decision-making authority or filled with regret that you never took care of this easy planning tool?

There is no denying that a Health Care Proxy for your college age children is essential and offers one less worry for parents. The ongoing COVID pandemic reinforces the need to be prepared- not scared, so that you can support and protect your children in need if a health crisis occurs, whether they are at school or at home.

A Health Care Proxy is a document wherein you designate someone to make medical decisions and communicate with medical providers on your behalf should you be unable to do so, such as in the event of temporary or permanent incapacity. A Health Care Proxy should also contain a HIPAA release authorizing your Health Care Agent to have access to your medical records.

Your child should also have a Living Will. A Living Will is a document wherein you state your wishes regarding end-of-life care, such as artificial nutrition and hydration, pain management, and administration of CPR. By stating your wishes in this document, your loved ones do not need to make these extremely difficult decisions for you. Instead, you decide for yourself and your loved ones simply honor your wishes.

Contact our office to schedule your appointment before your child attends college in the fall. If drafted correctly, the health care proxy will give parents authority to communicate with medical professionals, make health care decisions if your child is unable to do so and access your child’s medical records. Call us at 631.390.5000.

About the Author Cona Elder Law

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