Among other things, the Advance Directive Act authorizes an adult of sound mind (the “declarant”) to execute a document designating a health care agent to make decisions on his or her behalf when the “declarant is unable or chooses not to make health care decisions for himself or herself.” OCGA §§ 31–32–2(3), (6); 31–32–5(a)(1). The health care agent may consent to or refuse any medical care or treatment for the declarant, including any surgical or life-sustaining procedures. OCGA § 31–32–7(e)(1). The agent must exercise his or her powers “consistent with the intentions and desires of the declarant” if known, but if the declarant’s wishes are unclear, the agent must “act in the declarant’s best interest considering the benefits, burdens, and risks of the declarant’s circumstances and treatment options.” OCGA § 31–32–7(b).
When the designated agent notifies a health care provider of a decision regarding the declarant’s medical care or treatment, the provider must abide by the agent’s decision, “subject to the health care provider’s right to administer treatment for the declarant’s comfort and alleviation of pain.” OCGA § 31–32–8(2).
Who will make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so? If you do not have an Advanced Directive for Heath care John P. Thielman, Esq. can work with you to prepare one that make sense for you. This simple document will prove great comfort to your immediate family.