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What is Advance Directive

Every competent adult has the right to make decisions concerning their own health, including the right to choose or refuse medical treatment. An Advance Directive is a document that explains your preferences for your future health care treatment. It is written when you are healthy enough to express your wishes. An advance directive is only used if you become unable to express your choices on your own.

It is important to review the requirements of the state where you live. Some states allow you to write your own instructions about your care. Other states require you to appoint another person to make health care decisions for you, with your beliefs and wishes in mind.

Reasons to consider having a Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD)

  • Psychiatric Advance Directives describe your preferences concerning future mental health care. It lets you document your instructions for psychiatric care, as well as:
  • Creates an opportunity to discuss treatment options with family, friends and providers
  • Gives information to providers who may not be familiar with your needs
  • Explains who you want to be able to receive your medical information
  • Allows you to outline a plan for who cares for children, finances or pets during a crisis
  • Describes who should be informed or permitted to visit during treatment
  • Informs your providers of any medical conditions you have or medications you are taking
  • Conveys what has or has not been effective for you in the past
  • Allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions consistent with your beliefs and wishes

Examples of instructions you can include in a PAD:

  • When to treat or go to the hospital: I authorize my agent to help me seek help for my mental health if I…
  • Knowledge of medication effects: I will take this medication, but not a dosage over…
  • Adverse actions: _ medication makes me overly drowsy and unable to function.
  • Trauma concerns: Because of past trauma, it is helpful for me to avoid… Do this instead…
  • Setting treatment limits for providers: I want the medication reduced or stopped if I have the following side effects…

The National Resources Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives offers state by state information on laws affecting PADs: https://www.nrc-pad.org/

If you have additional questions, we are here to help. Contact Lucet by calling your Lucet care manager or the behavioral health number on the back of your health insurance card.

The content found in this handout is for informational purposes only. The content is not meant as a substitute for medical, clinical, legal or professional advice on any subject matter. Lucet makes every effort to present complete and accurate information; Lucet does not warrant or represent the accuracy, completeness or timelines of such information.

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