The New York Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) went into effect on June 1, 2010.
The law allows family members and friends to make health care decisions, including decisions about the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, on behalf of patients who lose their ability to make such decisions.
It applies to patients who have not prepared advance directives, such as health care proxies and living wills. There is a protocol for health care practitioners to determine whether a patient in a hospital or nursing home has decision-making capacity.
For patients without such capacity, the selection of a surrogate is required from a list of individuals ranked in order of priority, including family members, domestic partners and close friends.
Even with the passage of the FHCDA, you should still prepare a health care proxy and living will. These can be tailored to give your agent as much or as little authority as you desire.
Your wishes regarding the administration of artificial nutrition and hydration must be specified in writing in order for your agent to discontinue such measures