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The Center for Palliative Care’s goal is to provide the highest quality of holistic care to those who suffer from life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. Patient-centered and family-focused care that targets quality of life issues, comfort care, and symptom management is provided by an integrated multidisciplinary team with the goal of relieving physical, spiritual, and/or psychosocial suffering.
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Individuals like to think that they will always be healthy and able to make decisions for themselves. But if they develop a sudden illness or serious condition or are involved in an accident, they might not be able to make decisions for themselves. Making their wishes known while they are still healthy is a good idea. This can be done by completing an Advance Directive.
Then sharing their healthcare decisions with others is the best way to make sure they are respected.
Patients, families, and clinicians all can benefit from advance planning. Knowing your patients wishes may help ease their burden and reduce their uncertainty if ever a medical decisions has to be made when they are incapacitated.
This webpage provides you, the clinician, with resources, case examples, policies, and Advance Directive documents, and internal contacts in an effort to facilitate this planning process.
The term advance directive describes two types of legal documents that enable individuals to plan for and communicate their wishes for medical care and who would make those for them in the event they are unable to communicate. They traditionally include:
- A living will which allows individuals to document their wishes concerning medical treatments, traditionally options about life sustaining care, at the end of life.
- A medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney for healthcare, or health care proxy allows individuals to appoint a person they trust as their health care agent (or surrogate decision maker), who is authorized to make medical decisions on their behalf.
Both federal and state laws govern the use of advance directives. The federal law, the Patient Self-Determination Act, requires health care facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funds to inform patients of their rights to execute advance directives, along with providing an outlet to receive that information. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws recognizing the use of advance directives.
Click here to download the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare.
Click here to download the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare Information Handout.