Take Control with Confidence and Security
An Advanced Directive Form, also known as a Living Will or Healthcare Directive, is a vital legal document that enables individuals to outline their medical treatment preferences in advance. By completing this form, individuals can specify their choices regarding life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation measures, pain management, and organ donation, ensuring that their wishes are honored even if they are unable to communicate due to illness or incapacity. This proactive approach empowers both patients and their families, providing clarity and guidance during challenging healthcare decisions. Consulting legal professionals and healthcare providers when creating an Advanced Directive Form ensures its legal validity and alignment with personal values, fostering a patient-centric approach to medical care.
The New York Health Care Proxy Law allows you to appoint someone you trust — for example, a family member or close friend – to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. By appointing a health care agent, you can make sure that health care providers follow your wishes. Your agent can also decide how your wishes apply as your medical condition changes. Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers must follow your agent’s decisions as if they were your own. You may give the person you select as your health care agent as little or as much authority as you want. You may allow your agent to make all health care decisions or only certain ones. You may also give your agent instructions that he or she has to follow. This form can also be used to document your wishes or instructions with regard to organ and/or tissue donation.
1. This form gives the person you choose as your agent the authority to make all health care decisions for you, including the decision to remove or provide life-sustaining treatment, unless you say otherwise in this form. “Health care” means any treatment, service or procedure to diagnose or treat your physical or mental condition.
2. Unless your agent reasonably knows your wishes about artificial nutrition and hydration (nourishment and water provided by a feeding tube or intravenous line), he or she will not be allowed to refuse or consent to those measures for you.
3. Your agent will start making decisions for you when your doctor determines that you are not able to make health care decisions for yourself.
4. You may write on this form examples of the types of treatments that you would not desire and/or those treatments that you want to make sure you receive. The instructions may be used to limit the decision-making power of the agent. Your agent must follow your instructions when making decisions for you.
5. You do not need a lawyer to fill out this form.
6. You may choose any adult (18 years of age or older), including a family member or close friend, to be your agent. If you select a doctor as your agent, he or she will have to choose between acting as your agent or as your attending doctor because a doctor cannot do both at the same time. Also, if you are a patient or resident of a hospital, nursing home or mental hygiene facility, there are special restrictions about naming someone who works for that facility as your agent. Ask staff at the facility to explain those restrictions.
7. Before appointing someone as your health care agent, discuss it with him or her to make sure that he or she is willing to act as your agent. Tell the person you choose that he or she will be your health care agent. Discuss your health care wishes and this form with your agent. Be sure to give him or her a signed copy. Your agent cannot be sued for health care decisions made in good faith.
8. If you have named your spouse as your health care agent and you later become divorced or legally separated, your former spouse can no longer be your agent by law, unless you state otherwise. If you would like your former spouse to remain your agent, you may note this on your current form and date it or complete a new form naming your former spouse.
9. Even though you have signed this form, you have the right to make health care decisions for yourself as long as you are able to do so, and treatment cannot be given to you or stopped if you object, nor will your agent have any power to object.
10. You may cancel the authority given to your agent by telling him or her or your health care provider orally or in writing.
11. Appointing a health care agent is voluntary. No one can require you to appoint one.
12. You may express your wishes or instructions regarding organ and/or tissue donation on this form.
If you become unable, even temporarily, to make health care decisions, someone else must decide for you. Health care providers often look to family members for guidance. Family members may express what they think your wishes are related to a particular treatment. Appointing an agent lets you control your medical treatment by:
Unless you limit your health care agent’s authority, your agent will be able to make any health care
decision that you could have made if you were able to decide for yourself. Your agent can agree that you should receive treatment, choose among different treatments and decide that treatments should not be provided, in accordance with your wishes and interests. However, your agent can only make decisions about artificial nutrition and hydration (nourishment and water provided by feeding tube or intravenous line) if he or she knows your wishes from what you have said or what you have written. The Health Care Proxy form does not give your agent the power to make non-health care decisions for you, such as financial decisions.
Anyone 18 years of age or older can be a health care agent. The person you are appointing as your agent or your alternate agent cannot sign as a witness on your Health Care Proxy form.
Appointing a health care agent is a good idea even though you are not elderly or terminally ill. A health care agent can act on your behalf if you become even temporarily unable to make your own health care decisions (such as might occur if you are under general anesthesia or have become comatose because of an accident). When you again become able to make your own health care decisions, your health care agent will no longer be authorized to act.
All competent adults, 18 years of age or older, can appoint a health care agent by signing a form called a Health Care Proxy. You don’t need a lawyer or a notary, just two adult witnesses. Your agent cannot sign as a witness. You can use the form printed here, but you don’t have to use this form.
Your agent must follow your wishes, as well as your moral and religious beliefs. You may write instructions on your Health Care Proxy form or simply discuss them with your agent.
Your health care agent would begin to make health care decisions after your doctor decides that you are not able to make your own health care decisions. As long as you are able to make health care decisions for yourself, you will have the right to do so. agent, you should have a discussion with the person about what types of treatments you would or would not want under different types of circumstances, such as:
It is important to note your wishes about organ and/or tissue donation to your health care agent, the person designated as your decedent’s agent, if one has been appointed, and your family members. New York Law provides a list of individuals who are authorized to consent to organ and/or tissue donation on your behalf. They are listed in order of priority: your health care agent; your decedent’s agent; your spouse, if you are not legally separated, or your domestic partner; a son or daughter 18 years of age or older; either of your parents; a brother or sister 18 years of age or older; or a guardian appointed by a court prior to the donor’s death.
No. Your agent is obligated to make decisions based on your wishes. If you clearly expressed particular wishes, or gave particular treatment instructions, your agent has a duty to follow those wishes or instructions unless he or she has a good faith basis for believing that your wishes changed or do not apply to the circumstances.
It is easy to cancel your Health Care Proxy, to change the person you have chosen as your health care agent or to change any instructions or limitations you have included on the form. Simply fill out a new form. In addition, you may indicate that your Health Care Proxy expires on a specified date or if certain events occur. Otherwise, the Health Care Proxy will be valid indefinitely. If you choose your spouse as your health care agent or as your alternate, and you get divorced or legally separated, the appointment is automatically cancelled. However, if you would like your former spouse to remain your agent, you may note this on your current form and date it or complete a new form naming your former spouse.
All hospitals, nursing homes, doctors and other health care providers are legally required to provide your health care agent with the same information that would be provided to you and to honor the decisions by your agent as if they were made by you. If a hospital or nursing home objects to some treatment options (such as removing certain treatment) they must tell you or your agent BEFORE or upon admission, if reasonably possible.
No. A living will is a document that provides specific instructions about health care decisions. You may put such instructions on your Health Care Proxy form. The Health Care Proxy allows you to choose someone you trust to make health care decisions on your behalf. Unlike a living will, a Health Care Proxy does not require that you know in advance all the decisions that may arise. Instead, your health care agent can interpret your wishes as medical circumstances change and can make decisions you could not have known would have to be made.
You may appoint an alternate agent to decide for you if your health care agent is unavailable, unable or unwilling to act when decisions must be made. Otherwise, health care providers will make health care decisions for you that follow instructions you gave while you were still able to do so. Any instructions that you write on your Health Care Proxy form will guide health care providers under these circumstances.
Give a copy to your agent, your doctor, your attorney and any other family members or close friends you want. Keep a copy in your wallet or purse or with other important papers, but not in a location where no one can access it, like a safe deposit box. Bring a copy if you are admitted to the hospital, even for minor surgery, or if you undergo outpatient surgery.
Yes. Use the optional organ and tissue donation section on the Health Care Proxy form and be sure to have the section witnessed by two people. You may specify that your organs and/or tissues be used for transplantation, research or educational purposes. Any limitation(s) associated with your wishes should be noted in this section of the proxy. Failure to include your wishes and instructions on your Health Care Proxy form will not be taken to mean that you do not want to be an organ and/ or tissue donor.
Yes. As of August 26, 2009, your health care agent is authorized to make decisions after your death, but only those regarding organ and/or tissue donation. Your health care agent must make such decisions as noted on your Health Care Proxy form.
Having an open and frank discussion about your wishes with your health care agent will put him or her in a better position to serve your interests. If your agent does not know your wishes or beliefs, your agent is legally required to act in your best interest. Because this is a major responsibility for the person you appoint as your health care
Write the name, home address and telephone number of the person you are selecting as your agent.
If you want to appoint an alternate agent, write the name, home address and telephone number of the person you are selecting as your alternate agent.
Your Health Care Proxy will remain valid indefinitely unless you set an expiration date or condition for its expiration. This section is optional and should be filled in only if you want your Health Care Proxy to expire.
If you have special instructions for your agent, write them here. Also, if you wish to limit your agent’s authority in any way, you may say so here or discuss them with your health care agent. If you do not state any limitations, your agent will be allowed to make all health care decisions that you could have made, including the decision to consent to or refuse life-sustaining treatment. If you want to give your agent broad authority, you may do so right on the form. Simply write: I have discussed my wishes with my health care agent and alternate and they know my wishes including those about artificial nutrition and hydration. If you wish to make more specific instructions, you could say: If I become terminally ill,
Examples of medical treatments about which you may wish to give your agent special instructions are listed below. This is not a complete list:
You must provide date and sign this Health Care Proxy form. If you are unable to sign yourself, you may direct someone else to sign in your presence. Be sure to include your address.
I do/don’t want to receive the following types of treatments.... If I am in a coma or have little conscious understanding, with no hope of recovery, then I do/ don’t want the following types of treatments:.... If I have brain damage or a brain disease that makes me unable to recognize people or speak and there is no hope that my condition will improve, I do/don’t want the following types of treatments:.... I have discussed with my agent my wishes about
and I want my agent to make all decisions about these measures.
You may state wishes or instructions about organ and /or tissue donation on this form. New York law does provide for certain individuals in order of priority to consent to an organ and/or tissue donation on your behalf: your health care agent, your decedent’s agent, your spouse , if you are not legally separated, or your domestic partner, a son or daughter 18 years of age or older, either of your parents, a brother or sister 18 years of age or older, a guardian appointed by a court prior to the donor’s death.
Two witnesses 18 years of age or older must sign this Health Care Proxy form. The person who is appointed your agent or alternate agent cannot sign as a witness.
as my health care agent to make any and all health care decisions for me, except to the extent that I state otherwise. This proxy shall take effect only when and if I become unable to make my own health care decisions.
(2) Optional: Alternate Agent
If the person I appoint is unable, unwilling or unavailable to act as my health care agent, I hereby appoint
as my health care agent to make any and all health care decisions for me, except to the extent that I state otherwise.
In order for your agent to make health care decisions for you about artificial nutrition and hydration (nourishment and water provided by feeding tube and intravenous line), your agent must reasonably know your wishes. You can either tell your agent what your wishes are or include them in this section. See instructions for sample language that you could use if you choose to include your wishes on this form, including your wishes about artificial nutrition and hydration.
If you do not state your wishes or instructions about organ and/or tissue donation on this form, it will not be taken to mean that you do not wish to make a donation or prevent a person, who is otherwise authorized by law, to consent to a donation on your behalf.
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