Advance Health Care Directives
It is often difficult for individuals to think about the care and treatment they want in the event they are incapable of making their own health care decisions. However, completing an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) is important for all individuals over 18 years of age as they may unexpectedly be in a position where they cannot speak for themselves, such as an accident or severe illness.
An AHCD allows individuals to appoint an agent who has power of attorney to make care and treatment decisions on their behalf, and give instructions about their health care wishes.
For example, advance directives can prohibit resuscitation (the act of trying to revive a person whose heart has stopped) or tube feeding, if this is the person's wish. Advance directives may be in the form of a living will, which expresses the person's preferences for medical care; a durable power of attorney, in which the ill person designates another person to make health care decisions; or both. In most states, less formal decisions made during advance care planning among a person, family, and doctor are also powerfully helpful in shaping care to suit the person's preferences.
Obtain a copy of an Advance Healthcare Directive for California:
Once you have completed the form and had your signature notarized or witnessed, take a photocopy to your primary care physician, so that it can be placed in your medical record. Give a copy to your agent(s). Keep the original for your personal records.