Parent’s of High School Graduates – Have you completed a health care proxy yet? Understand the risks.

By: Denise Koslowsky

Graduation blog picture

High School Graduation is another huge milestone in the life of your teen.   Your child is joyfully celebrating years of hard work; the exams they’ve taken the extracurricular activities they poured their hearts into and the relationships they’ve built.  You are fighting back tears of joy and wondering where all the years have gone.  And just like that, it’s over and time to look ahead to the future.

Earlier this month in our blog about prom we discussed the importance of our role as parents in preparing our kids for their future.  For each family with a child graduating high school, the future is a bit different.  Some families are helping prepare their child for their first year of college, making plans for what to bring with them as they begin their dorm life.  Other families are planning for their child’s gap year, working on perfecting itineraries and packing for travel.


Either way, if your child is now 18, there is something that may not be on your agenda that really should be….planning for a medical emergency.

Once your child turns 18, they are legally an adult and in charge of his or her own life.  While you may know that in your head, the specifics of what that really means can sometimes take you by surprise.


Medically speaking health care providers are no longer authorized to give you details about the specifics of your child’s care unless you have the proper documentation in place.

Health Care Proxy
One of the things you need to discuss with your child is filing paperwork to be designated as their Health Care Proxy.  Should your child become injured and unable to make decisions for himself, once they are 18 parents are not be able to make decisions for them unless there is a Health Care Proxy in place.  Important notes about a Health Care Proxy Form:

  • Be sure to empower your child and have them fill out the form together with you. Your child can fill out this form and give you as much or as little authorization as they feel comfortable with.
  • If your child is going away to school in another state, it is a good idea to fill out the form in both states to avoid any possible complications.


HIPAA Release

The names stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and it allows for health care providers to share medical information to specific designated people.  If you have a signed HIPAA Release on file, it is like having a permission slip.  Your child’s healthcare providers will know that it is OK to share information with you.  Again the HIPAA release does not have to include everything.  Your child can dictate what information they want released so sit down and have the conversation now, before they go away so that in the event of an emergency you are covered.

With proper planning you can avoid making a stressful situation worse.  Have the conversations and take care of the documentation before they are miles away from home.


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