On July 1, 2000 the Health Care Decisions Law (AB891) replaced the Natural Death Act and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care laws making it easier for you to make decisions regarding the extent of life-extending medical care to be provided you and to make your choices known to your doctors and family. It also allows you to identify someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated and unable to communicate your decisions personally. You are not required to have an Advance Directive in order to get medical care BUT an Advance Directive can assure you will be treated only to the limits you have set.
Outlined below are your rights:
- To appoint one or more persons to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate. Surrogate decision-makers are bound to make decisions in keeping with your instructions and in your best interest.
- To choose your primary care physician. Your physician can make decisions while acting in good faith and in accordance to the current standards for care if do not have an Advance Directive.
- To place time and authority limits on the person(s) you choose to make decisions on your behalf.
- To specify your priorities and wishes for your care and treatment.
- To refuse treatment or place limits on which treatments you receive.
- To indicate if you wish to have your life prolonged and under what conditions this may take place.
- To leave instructions about your religious and ethical beliefs and how these impact your care in life and death.
In addition to talking with your health care provider, you can read more about Advance Directives and download forms to complete your personal Advance Directive on several web sites. Those we recommend are listed below: