It is an understatement to say that receiving a diagnosis for cancer, heart disease or a chronic condition is frightening. Such a diagnosis could change your entire life – as well as your family’s. As in the case of COVID-19, an illness or condition could also progress quite rapidly.
However, with the right medications and treatment, many people survive these diagnoses and continue to live fulfilling lives with some changes to manage their health. In these situations, you should consider having someone become your health historian.
What is a health historian?
While a health historian might not be an official legal or medical term, it is still an important thing for you to consider. A health historian would be someone you trust who has in-depth knowledge of your:
- Health conditions
- Family medical history
- Individual medical history
You can ask a close friend, family member or adult child to be your health historian.
It is helpful if you take the time to compile a written and organized history of your health conditions and treatment for this purpose. Then, you can share a copy of this document with your chosen health historian.
Why would this be helpful?
It is always beneficial to have someone other than yourself be aware of your health conditions and medical history. In case of an emergency, this person can provide critical information about your condition.
This is also helpful if your family has a history of dementia, for example. Establishing someone as the health historian for a family member with dementia can be incredibly helpful to ensure the family has an accurate image of their loved one’s condition – and therefore, how to help them – when their loved one may not remember these details about their health.
Consider making your health historian your health care agent
It is often beneficial to give your health historian the power of attorney for health care. Establishing an advance health care directive in California gives someone the ability to make decisions about your medical care if you cannot make them for yourself.
If this person also has thorough knowledge and information about your medical history, you can feel confident that your health care agent will make an informed decision on your behalf.