It can be deeply uncomfortable to think about worst-case scenarios in which you are unable to make your own medical decisions. However, putting a plan in place long before you need it may help to prevent loved ones from trying to make those difficult choices themselves, possibly without knowing what you really want.

In Georgia, completing an Advance Directive for Health Care allows you to give specific instructions about the kind of care you do and do not want to receive. This form also allows you to name a health care agent and/or guardian who can act on your behalf if you choose.

What does an advance directive cover?

In July of 2007, the Georgia legislature decided to combine Living Wills and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care into one document: The Advance Directive for Health Care.

The ADHC allows you to do three primary things:

  • Name an agent who you trust to make health care decisions for you if needed
  • Give specific directions for withdrawing or continuing treatments in end-of-life situations
  • Nominate a guardian should the court decide that you need one at a future date

Is it possible to change an advance directive?

As long as you are physically and mentally able, you may change the terms of your ADHC whenever you choose. Whether you need to name a new health care agent, have received a new diagnosis or simply have changed your preferences for potentially invasive treatments, revisiting your end-of-life plans frequently may help to avoid confusion, conflict and heartache down the road.