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Introduction to Making the Most of Health Care

By

Michael R. Wasserman

, MD, Los Angeles Jewish Home

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Gone are the days when everyone can rely solely on their family doctor with the help of a nurse to take charge of their health care. To obtain the best health care today, people should participate actively in the process. Active participation means many things:

For people with a specific disorder, active participation also means monitoring their health. For example, people with hypertension regularly measure their blood pressure, and people with diabetes regularly measure their blood sugar level.

Good communication—open, honest sharing of information—with health care practitioners is crucial because it can mean better health. With good communication, practitioners better understand the problems a person is having, and the person better understands how problems should be treated. It also fosters trust and confidence between the practitioner and the person, making the person more likely to follow the treatment regimen. Information on the internet (see Researching a Disorder Researching a Disorder When a disorder is first diagnosed, the doctor often gives a handout that summarizes key points of information. (See also Introduction to Making the Most of Health Care.) People may also have... read more ), if it is reliable (see STANDS—Commentary), can help people learn about their health and conditions in ways that can enhance their relationship with their practitioner.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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Default Surrogate Decision Making
When people are unable to make their own healthcare decisions, someone with authority to make these decisions for them is needed (a surrogate decision maker). A document called a “healthcare power of attorney” may specify such a person. Sometimes a court will appoint a guardian with this authority. But in the absence of a designated surrogate, most states will appoint a so-called default surrogate decision maker, usually the next of kin. Assuming the person is married with living adult children, siblings, and parents, which of the following people would most likely be named surrogate decision maker in most states?
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