Happy National Healthcare Decisions Day!

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day!

NHDD started in 2008 as a way to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about advance care planning.  For Georgians this week is all about getting people to talk to their loved ones about their healthcare wishes and to complete a Georgia Advance Directive. So, let’s start talking

First, what is the Georgia Advance Directive?

It is a statutory document that combines the healthcare power of attorney and living will into one document. It is the primary advance care planning tool in Georgia and has four main goals:

  1. Names someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot or do not want to make your own  healthcare decisions.
  2. Communicates your treatment preferences if you are ever in a coma or diagnosed with a terminal illness and cannot speak for yourself.
  3. States your wishes for cremation or burial.
  4. Allows you to recommend a guardian if you ever need a guardian in the future.

Who Needs an Advance Directive?

Almost every Georgian over the age of 18 should have an Advance Directive in place. This is not a form just for the elderly or the disabled. Accidents, sudden illnesses and healthcare crises are equal opportunity events that can cause severe impairment in any of us at anytime. Completing an Advance Directive proactively (before it’s too late) will authorize an informed person to make your important healthcare decisions should you be unable to do so.

Where can you find the form?

This is a statutory form and can be found for free online. Click on the picture below to download a copy! After you print it out, complete it with your loved ones, sign it, and then have two witnesses sign it. No notary or attorney is required.

What do you do with the form once completed?

You should give a copy of this completed form to people who might need it, such as your health care agent(s), your family, and your physician. Keep a copy of this completed form at home in a place where it can easily be found  if it is needed. Do not keep it in a safe or a safety deposit box. Review this completed form periodically to make sure it still reflects your wishes.

Completing a Georgia Advance Directive is an important step in planning ahead for future incapacity. It is never too early to talk to your loved ones about your (and their) healthcare wishes!

To learn more about advance care planning, please visit NHDD’s resource page.