Advanced Directives

Why It’s Important

Georgia State law mandates that all health care facilities ask the patient whether he/she has an Advance Directive or Living Will. Medicare has also asked ambulatory surgical centers to provide the patient or the patient’s representative with information concerning its policies on advance directives prior to the procedure, including a description of applicable State health and safety laws and, if requested, official State advance directive forms.

An Advance Directive or Living Will is used by an individual to indicate their voluntary, informed choice of accepting, rejecting, or choosing among alternative courses of medical treatment. An Advance Directive or Living Will is a document which allows you to give written instruction to those caring for you indicating the type of health care you would wish to receive or reject in the event you become unable to express these decisions yourself.

The Georgia advance directive for health care has four parts:

  1. Health Care Agent

This part allows you to choose someone to make health care decisions for you when you cannot (or do not want to) make health care decisions for yourself. The person you choose is called a health care agent. You may also have your health care agent make decisions for you after your death with respect to an autopsy, organ donation, body donation, and final disposition of your body. You should talk to your health care agent about this important role.

  1. Treatment Preferences:

This part allows you to state your treatment preferences if you have a terminal condition or if you are in a state of permanent unconsciousness. PART TWO will become effective only if you are unable to communicate your treatment preferences. Reasonable and appropriate efforts will be made to communicate with you about your treatment preferences before PART TWO becomes effective. You should talk to your family and others close to you about your treatment preferences.

  1. Guardianship

This part allows you to nominate a person to be your guardian should one ever be needed.

  1. Effectiveness and Signatures

This part requires your signature and the signatures of two witnesses.