"This time, with a PAD, I did not receive any treatments that I did not want. They were very respectful. I really felt like the hospital took better care of me because I had my PAD. In fact, I think it's the best care that I've ever received."Read More...
Georgia Q and A
Ten commonly asked questions about PAD's for Georgia
Please note: the following 10 FAQs are designed to provide a quick and accessible guide to what your state’s Statutes say – or do not say – about PADs. The FAQs do not attempt to provide a complete picture of the law in your state, nor can they take the place of legal advice. The answers were accurate when written in September 2013.
1. Can I write a legally-binding psychiatric advance directive (PAD)?
Yes, by appointing an agent. Georgia’s Advance Directive for Health Care Act allows you to appoint a health care agent to make health care decisions for you if you become incompetent to make those decisions yourself, with certain exceptions (see question 4 below). Health care decisions may include decisions about mental health. Although not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you use Georgia’s statutory short form Advance Directive for Health Care to appoint your agent.
2. Can I write advance instructions regarding psychiatric medications and/or hospitalization?
Yes. The general rule is that your agent may consent or refuse any medical treatments or procedures on your behalf when you are incompetent to make decisions yourself. However, you may choose limit your agent’s authority in part 2 of the statutory short form Advance Directive for Health Care as indicated there: for example, you may wish to decline electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in all circumstances.
The statute says that the agent must not make a decision contrary to any decision you made when you remained competent. This amounts to a substituted judgment standard. It is important to make your wishes known to your agent when you create your PAD.
Yes. As explained above, it is not possible to write advance instructions only. If you wish to create a PAD, you must appoint an agent, but the extent to which you also document your decisions is up to you.
No. The statute states that the provider’s obligation to consult the agent begins “whenever…[he/she] believes a patient is unable to understand the general nature of the health care procedure which the provider deems necessary”.
No. However, it is important to note that mental health care providers might legally decline your agent’s instructions if you were considered a danger to yourself or others, or otherwise in an emergency.
Your Advance Directive for Health Care is valid until revoked. You may revoke it at any time, orally or in writing. If you choose to revoke your directive orally, you must do so in the presence of an adult witness who confirms it in writing within 30 days. You may also revoke your advance directive by completing a new one or destroying the existing one. If you marry after creating an Advance Directive for Health Care it will revoke any health care agent other than your spouse. If you appoint your spouse as your agent and subsequently become divorced, the designation of your spouse as your health care agent will be revoked.