Advance directives

Advance directives help doctors know what you want

Your provider may ask if you have an advance directive. These are instructions about your medical care. They are used when you can’t say what you want or speak for yourself due to an accident or illness.

You’ll get medical care even if you don’t have an advance directive. You have the right to make your own medical decisions. You can refuse care. Advance directives help providers know what you want when you can’t tell them. Written advance directives in Louisiana fall into two main groups – living wills and healthcare proxy. It’s up to you whether you want to have both or just one.

Advance directives are important for everyone to have, no matter what your age or health condition is.  They let you say what type of end-of-life care you do and don’t want for yourself.

If you have an advance directive:

  • Keep one copy of your advance directives for yourself
  • Give a copy to the person to whom you give medical power of attorney
  • Give a copy to each one of your providers
  • Take a copy with you if you have to go to the hospital or the emergency room
  • Keep a copy in your car if you have one

Louisiana state law covers a enrollee's right to accept or refuse medical, surgical or behavioral health treatment and the right to formulate advance directives. Enrollees can file complaints about the failure to comply with an advance directive with the Office of Health Standards, Louisiana’s Survey and Certification agency, at 225-342-0138.

You can also talk to your provider if you need help or have questions. We can help you find a provider that will carry out your advance directive instructions. You can file a complaint if your advance directive is not followed.

Call Enrollee Services at 1-855-242-0802, TTY 711, for help.

Health care proxy gives durable power of attorney for health care.

This document lets you select a person to make health care decisions for you. You may be too sick to make them yourself. This document is valid if your condition is brief because of an accident. It can also be lasting because of a disease. The person that you select is your “health care representative." Your representative is responsible for making the same decisions you would have made. Your representative may not be able to decide what you would want in a specific situation. In this case they need to base their decisions on what he or she thinks is in your best interest.

An instruction directive is also called a living will.

This is a document you use to tell your doctor and family about the kinds of situations in which you would want or not want to have life-sustaining treatment -- in the event you are unable to make your own health care decisions. You can also include a description of your beliefs, values, and general care and treatment preferences. This will guide your doctor and family when they have to make health care decisions for you in situations that aren’t covered by your advance directive.