In New York State when a child reaches the age of 18, they are considered an adult. This means that an 18-year-old’s parents are not guaranteed to have the ability to make medical decisions (or access medical records) for them in the circumstance that medical decisions need to be made.
A health care proxy is a document that allows an adult to appoint a person (agent) to make medical decisions for themselves if they are unable to do so. A health care proxy can also give authority to an agent to speak with doctors and access medical records, which may be vital if someone is in an accident or has a medical emergency.
Should the unthinkable happen and your child ends up in a hospital while away at college, a properly executed health care proxy will allow you, as your child’s agent, to make essential health care decisions for your child. In addition, it allows hospitals and other medical providers to provide you with information on the condition and care of your child.
No parent should ever have to experience being told their child is in the hospital, but the hospital cannot give them any information about their status or care.