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Who can be healthcare agent in Massachusetts?

Hello, my mother is currently living in a nursing facility in Massachusetts. We're very close, but for some reason she's got it in her head that she would like to ask her social worker at the facility to be her healthcare agent for her health care proxy. I'm her only child and I'm more than willing to do it but she thinks the burden would be too much if I was ever called upon to make life ending decisions for her. I have told her that I will honor her wishes but she's adamant. Is it even legal for a social worker to be her health care agent under Massachusetts law? If it's not then maybe I can talk her into letting me do the job for her. Also, is it possible to have two healthcare agents for one person under MA law? Thanks for your help.

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That's too bad.  Although I disagree with her stance, it sounds like your mother is an extremely considerate person. However, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 201D, Section 3, a person who is an employee or operator of a health care or nursing facility cannot act as a patient's or resident's healthcare agent, unless that employee is related to the person by  blood, marriage or adoption.  Hopefully, that information will help you with your mother.

To your second question, the law in MA does not allow for the appointment of two healthcare agents.  I'm sure you can imagine the confusion and, potentially, acrimony that such an arrangement might cause.  Typically, there is an agent and an alternate.  Good luck.

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