Advanced Healthcare Directive
An Advanced Health Care Directive allows the principal to designate an agent to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. These decisions include choices such as:
- Consent or refusal for any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnoise, or might otherwise affect a physical or mental condition.
- Select or discharge health care providers.
- Approve or disapprove tests, surgical procedures, and medications.
- Direct the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of artificial feeding and hydration tubes.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- Donation of organs or tissue.
- Authorization or denial of an autopsy.
- Mortuary affairs.
The authority granted to the agent under an Advanced Healthcare Directive typically becomes effective when the principal becomes incapacitated. Most people choose their spouse, child, friend, or other relative, to be named as the agent.
Psychiatric Advanced Healthcare Directive
A Psychiatric Advanced Health Care Directive allows specific instructions to be set forth of a person with capacity regarding their mental healthcare treatment in the future should they have a psychiatric breakdown. This type of directive can be used much like a typical Advanced Health Care Directive. For example, it can be used in naming an agent to make decisions regarding the use or withholding of certain medications and treatments. Having such a document can be extremely helpful for someone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder but who, while on appropriate medication and treatment, has the capacity to execute an Advanced Health Care Directive.