Nolo.com gives us this information relative to a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
“This document, also known as a medical power of attorney, allows you to name a trusted person to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to communicate on your own. The person you name to make these decisions is usually called your agent or attorney-in-fact.
You can give your agent the authority to oversee the wishes you’ve set out in your health care declaration, as well as the power to make other necessary decisions about health care matters. Some states combine the declaration and durable power of attorney into a single form, most often called an “advance health care directive”.
OTHER NAMES FOR HEALTH CARE AGENTS
In addition to “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” health care representatives are sometimes called “proxies,” “patient advocates,” “surrogates,” or something similar. But if you hear the term “guardian” or “conservator,” that probably means something different.
Guardians and conservators are court-appointed decision makers, unlike those that you appoint yourself in a health care directive. One of the best reasons to make health care directives is to avoid complicated or stressful conservatorship or guardianship proceedings. For more information, see Nolo’s article Conservatorships and Adult Guardianships.