Advance Directives are documents that let you give instructions to your health care providers and your family about your health care wishes in advance of any serious illness or injury. Advance Directives go into effect only when you cannot make your own health care decisions. You may also name someone to make choices about your medical care and treatment if you are unable to do so — this person is called your health care agent.
Georgia Law gives competent adults the right to make decisions about their own health care. Before July 1, 2007, Georgia law recognized two kinds of advance directives:
As of July 1, 2007, Georgia law changed combining the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare into one document called the “Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care.”
The new Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care has four parts:
This part allows you to choose someone to make health care decisions for if you cannot (or do not want to) make health care decision for yourself. You may also have your health care agent make decisions for you after death with respect to an autopsy, organ donation, body donation, and final disposition of your body.
This part allows you to state your treatment preferences if you are (1) unable to communicate your treatment preferences, and (2) you either have a terminal condition or are in a state of permanent unconsciousness.
This part allows you to nominate to a court a person to be your guardian should one ever be needed.
This part requires your signature and the signature of two witnesses. You must complete Part Four if you have filled out any other part of this form.
Federal regulations require us to ask upon admission to the hospital if you have an advance directive. If you have completed an advance directive, we ask that you bring a copy with you to the hospital so that it may be placed in your medical record. If you decide to complete an advance directive while in the hospital, please let your health care provider know so that the appropriate personnel may be contacted to provide assistance in completing the form.
The Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care form is available by clicking here. WellStar West Georgia Medical Center also provides regular educational sessions for our community on completing the Advance Directive form, and information about those educations sessions may be accessed.