Advance planning for medical care or refusal of treatment in emergency or life-or-death situations is an important way to ensure that a patient's wishes are followed. Most states have their own legal forms to enable individuals to make certain healthcare decisions in advance.
Georgia's new form, the "Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care," combines forms that were previously separate in state law (the Statutory Health Care Power of Attorney Form and the Living Will). Using this form, an individual in Georgia can appoint a health care agent to make decisions for him when the patient is unable to make decisions himself. The form also allows an individual to state treatment preferences in event of a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness; and to nominate a person to serve as the individual's guardian should one ever be needed. The form requires the signatures of the individual (patient) and two witnesses. After completing the form, individuals should give a copy to the people who may need to use it: the health care agent, family members, selected guardian, and patient's physician.