Surrogate Decision Makers – Illinois

Surrogate Decision Makers become important in end-of life circumstances, under the Health Care Surrogate Act, when the patient lacks decisional capacity, and does not have an agent under a Power of Attorney for Health Care

Pursuant to 755 ILCS 40/25, surrogate decision makers, as identified by the patient’s attending physician after reasonable inquiry, are authorized to make decisions for a patient who lacks decisional capacity, or have a qualifying condition.  The priority to be given to potential surrogate decision makers is as follows:

  1. The patient’s guardian of the person
  2. The patient’s spouse
  3. Any adult son or daughter of the patient
  4. Either parent of the patient
  5. Any adult sibling of the patient
  6. Any adult grandchild of the patient
  7. A close friend of the patient
  8. The guardian of the patient’s estate

Where there are multiple surrogate decision makers at the same priority level, the surrogates are to make reasonable efforts to reach a consensus as to the decision on behalf of the patient regarding withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.

Potential for litigation:  If 2 or more surrogates in the same priority disagree about the health care decision, a majority of the available persons in that category shall control, unless the minority initiate guardianship proceedings.

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