A Louisiana Advance Directive for Health Care is a set of instructions about preferred medical care that takes effect when a patient becomes unable to make decisions. In addition to listing preferences for medical care, the form provides individuals with the option of appointing a health care proxy. A health care proxy - otherwise known as a health care agent or surrogate - is a person who has the authority to make health-related decisions on another person's behalf.
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If an individual has never had an Advance Directive made, any health care decisions may be made for them by a court-appointed guardian (a spouse, an adult child, an adult sibling, an adult relative or a professional). In Louisiana, this document is regulated by Title 40 (Public Health and Safety), RS 40:1151.2. The declaration may be written, oral or nonverbal and be must be witnessed by two (2) adult witnesses.
There is a difference between this form and a Living Will in Louisiana. A Living Will is a specific type of an Advance Directive for Health Care that becomes effective only in the event of a terminal illness.