Law for Older Americans

Health Care Advance Directives

What kinds of decisions does a health-care agent make?

In writing your advance directive, you’ll have to consider the scope of your agents' authority. A broadly drafted advance directive usually gives an agent authority to:

  • consent to or refuse any medical treatment or diagnostic procedure relating to your physical or mental health, including artificial nutrition and hydration
  • hire or discharge medical providers and authorize admission to medical and long-term care facilities
  • consent to measures for comfort care and pain relief
  • have access to all medical records
  • take whatever measures are necessary to carry out your wishes, including granting releases or waivers to medical facilities and seeking judicial remedies if problems arise

Remember, you can also limit the authority of your agent in any manner you wish.

>>What is a health care advance directive?
>>How do you plan a health care advance directive?
>>Is a health care advance directive the same as a living will?
>>Why can't I just tell my doctor what I want?
>>Will doctors and hospitals recognize my advance directive?
>>What is the Patient Self-Determination Act?
>>How do you write an advance directive?
>>What kinds of decisions does a health-care agent make?
>>How do you select a health-care agent?
>>Are there any formalities of signing an advance directive?
>>Can you change or terminate your advance directive?
>>Where should you keep the directive?
>>When should you review your advance directive?
>>Is an advance directive still good when you cross state lines?


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