INFORMATION ABOUT ADVANCE DIRECTIVES
WHAT ARE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES?
Advance Directives are doc uments that state an individual's choices about medical treatment or name someone to make choices about medical treatments for the individual if the individual is unable to make those decisions. Advance Directives are written before the onset of serious illness. The Patient Self-Determination Act requires all programs that provide home health care or personal care services and that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs to have written policies and procedures on Advance Directives. The State of Georgia has two forms of Advance Directives: the Living Will and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
IWHAT IS A LIVING WILL?
A Living Will is one type of an Advance Directive. A Living Will is a document that is used only when a person has a terminal condition. It instructs the physician regarding decisions to withhold or withdraw certain medical procedures which could be used to prolong life. A Living Will deals with how an individual wishes to be treated when that individual is dying. The Living Will allows an individual to die naturally, without death being artificially prolonged by various medical procedures.
WHAT IS A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE?
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is another form of Advance Directives. This document allows one to designate a person or persons to make decisions regarding health care when the individual is unable to do so.
AM I REQUIRED TO HAVE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES?
No. No one is required to have Advance Directives. Each individual has the right to choose whether or not to have Advance Directives.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?
Each individual has the right to refuse any medical or surgical treatment or services that the individual does not wish to receive. Georgia law allows individuals to sign Advance Directives so that the individual's wishes will be followed even if the individual becomes unable to communicate those wishes to the health care provider..
CAN I BE REFUSED ADMISSION TO THE COMMUNITY CARE SERVICE PROGRAM IF I DO NOT HAVE AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?
No. Federal law prohibits programs from refusing to admit a client because the client does not have an Advance Directive. However, individuals will be asked if they do have an advance directive and those answers will be documented.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ADVANCE DIRECTIVES?
This information sheet is one way of providing clients with informatiAdvance Directives. If you would like more information about Advance Directives, you may contact the Division of Aging Services at (404) 657-5319 or an attorney.