Advance Health Care Directive

An advance health care directive (AHCD) is a legal document that includes both a health care declaration and a durable power of attorney for health care.

In other words, an AHCD is two things:  First, it authorizes someone to speak for you if you’re unable to communicate with doctors and nurses.  Second, it expresses your end-of-life values?  The AHCD is where you say whether and when it’s OK to “pull the plug.”

Every adult should have an AHCD.

Is an Advance Directive the same as a “Do-Not-Resuscitate” Order?

No.

What is a DNR?

A DNR “is an official State document developed by the California EMS Authority and the California Medical Association which, when completed correctly, allows a patient with a life threatening illness or injury to forgo specific resuscitative measures that may keep them alive. These measures include: chest compressions (CPR), assisted ventilation (breathing), endotracheal intubation, defibrillation, and cardiotonic drugs (drugs which stimulate the heart). The form does not affect the provision of other emergency medical care, including treatment for pain (also known as “comfort measures”), difficulty breathing, major bleeding, or other medical conditions.”

(California Emergency Medical Services Authority http://www.emsa.ca.gov/personnel/DNR_faq.asp)

What is a living will?

This is the obsolete name given to the AHCD.  (Frankly, I’m glad that this confusing term has fallen by the wayside.)

What does an AHCD cost?

At our firm, we would charge $200 to create and witness an AHDC that hews to the California statute.