Advance Directives 

Advance Directives

Advance Directives let you give instructions to your health care providers and your family about your health care wishes.  Advance Directives go into effect only when you cannot make your own health care decisions.  You may also name someone to make choices about your medical care and treatment if you can’t.

Georgia Law gives competent adults the right to make decisions about their own health care.  Before July 1, 2007, Georgia law recognized two kinds of advance directives:

  • Living Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.

As of July 1, 2007, Georgia law changed combining the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare into one document called the “Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care.” 

An advance directive that was completed before the change in Georgia law is still legal and no change is required unless you choose to do so.

Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care

The new Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care has four parts:

Part One-Health Care Agent:  This part allows you to choose someone to make health care decisions for if you cannot (or do not want to) make health care decision for yourself.  You may also have your health care agent make decisions for you after death with respect to an autopsy, organ donation, body donation, and final disposition of your body.

Part Two- Treatment preferences:  This part allows you to state your treatment preferences if you are (1) unable to communicate your treatment preferences, and (2) you either have a terminal condition or are in a state of permanent unconsciousness.

Part Three- Guardianship:  This part allows you to nominate to a court a person to be your guardian should one ever be needed.

Part Four- Effectiveness and Signatures: This part requires your signature and the signature of two witnesses.  You must complete Part Four if you have filled out any other part of this form.

Atlanta Medical Center will provide you with copies of the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care and assist you in completing the forms.  Atlanta Medical Center employees may not sign as a witness to your advance directive.   

Commonly asked questions about Advance Directives:

Do I have to have an advance directive?
No. Federal Law prohibits refusal of care by a hospital because you do not have an advance directive.

Can an advance directive be changed?
Yes, you can make changes or cancel your advance directive at any time.

What should I do with my advance directive?
Your advance directive should be part of your medical record.  Make and give copies to:  Your health care agent, your doctor or health care provider, your relatives, and anyone concerned with your health care.