Advance Directives



Advance DirectivesWhat kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes? Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They provide a way for you to communicate your wishes to family, friends and health care professionals, and to avoid confusion later on.
The following are some definitions that will help you in this journey:
Consent to Medical Treatment — This is for a person who has not issued a directive and needs medical care. Does not include withholding or withdrawing life sustaining treatment.
Declaration for Mental Health Treatment —This document allows you to make decisions in advance about mental health treatment and specifically three types of mental health treatment: psychoactive medication, convulsive therapy, and emergency mental health treatment. The instructions that you include in this declaration will be followed only if a court believes that you are incapacitated to make treatment decisions. Otherwise, you will be considered able to give or withhold consent for the treatments.
Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates — This is designed to help you communicate your wishes about medical treatment at some time in the future when you are unable to make your wishes known because of illness or injury.
Medical Power of Attorney — Except to the extent you state otherwise, this document gives the person you name as your agent the authority to make any and all health care decisions for you in accordance with your wishes, including your religious and moral beliefs, when you are no longer capable of making them yourself.
Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate Information — This instructs emergency medical personnel and other health care professionals to forgo resuscitation attempts and to permit the patient to have a natural death with peace and dignity. This order does NOT affect the provision of other emergency care including comfort care.
Procedure When Person Has Not Executed or Issued a Directive and Is Incompetent or Incapable of Communication — This is used if an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive and is incompetent, or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication. In that case, the attending physician and the resident’s legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from the resident.

The above information was obtained from Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services Website: www.dads.state.tx.us