The Advance Health Care Directive has replaced the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (or DPAHC) as the legally recognized document for appointing a health care agent in California. The Advance Health Care Directive allows you to do more than just a DPAHC. The California health care agent who must represent your preferences for medical treatment to physicians in this state must be named in this directive to be effective. If the California director is a resident of an advanced healthcare facility, then his or her patient advocate (or patient advocate) must provide witness testimony that the signature made by the California director is authentic.
The law specifically says that no one can require you to complete an Advance Health Care Directive before you are admitted to a hospital or other health care facility, and no one can deny you health insurance because you choose not to complete an Advance Health Care Directive. An Advance Health Care Directive lets your doctor, family, and friends know your healthcare preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don't want at the end of life, your desire to perform diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and organ donation. Be sure to include the name, address, and telephone and fax numbers of each person or facility to whom you have provided a copy of your advance health care directive form. A California Advance Health Care Directive allows a person to choose an agent to make medical decisions on their behalf and select end-of-life treatment options.
The Advance Health Care Directive form in this kit includes an optional living will statement that you can select if it reflects your wishes. An advance health care directive is the best way to ensure that your health care wishes are known and considered if for some reason you can't speak for yourself. Advance directives allow you to have legal control over your health care treatment if you are unable to speak for yourself. The state will expect this signature to be verifiable, so the California Director must document the current date and provide his or her effective signature while a Witness or Notary Public observes.
Your agent must make health care decisions that are consistent with the instructions in this document and your known wishes. An advance health care directive is valid forever, unless you revoke it or indicate on the form a specific date when you want it to expire. In the event of death, you can also allow or restrict your agent to donate organs, authorize an autopsy, and order the disposal of your remains. You must make a list of the individuals and institutions you give a copy of the form to know who to contact if you revoke the Advance Health Care Directive, update your contact information, or create a new one.
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