A health care directive offers you the opportunity to decide in advance how you would like your health care managed if you become unable to communicate your wishes or direct your own care. Without a directive in place, decisions related to your care could fall to a court appointed decision maker. The documents explained below are types of health care directives.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
Also called a Medical Power of Attorney or Patient Advocate Designation, this type of document lets you choose who will be allowed to make medical care decisions on your behalf. The terms agent or attorney-in-fact can be used to describe the person you've chosen.
There are a few things you can authorize this agent to do for you. You can have that person oversee the handling of your health care declaration. You can also allow your agent to make other decisions about necessary health care matters.
What is a Living Will or Declaration?
Living Will can be a misleading term. It isn't related to the wills that direct distribution of property upon death. A "living will" or declaration is a document that allows you to put in writing specific wishes related to types of medical care. If you find certain procedures unacceptable or are unwilling to allow extreme life prolonging measures, a declaration will protect your wishes.
Advance Health Care Directive
This is a term used in some states when the durable power of attorney and declaration are combined into one document.