Alaska Advance Health Care Directive
As a competent adult, you have the right to give instructions about your own health care to the extent allowed by law. This includes the right to receive information regarding your medical condition, treatment options, and any risks associated with each treatment option.
However, there may be times when you cannot make your wishes known to your doctor. Fortunately, you have the right to name someone else (your agent) to make health care decisions for you, as well provide instructions in advance regarding various medical questions that may arise (your advance directive).
Why do you need an advance directive?
Well, you don’t. But it can definitely make things easier on your family, friends, and doctors if you do. If you do not have an advance directive, Alaska law provides a list of people who would have priority to make health care decisions for you. This person is called a “surrogate”, and is typically a family member.
However, there is an advantage to choosing your own agent and in providing guidance to that person in advance. In a worst case situation, where there is nobody to step in to make decisions for you, or where several people have an equal right to do so and they can’t agree on a course of action, the dispute may need to be decided by a judge in a guardianship proceeding. This can be a real hassle, not to mention the time and expense involved.
Because this is such an important matter, we urge you to talk to your family, close friends, your doctor, and maybe even a lawyer, before you fill out this form. It’s also important that people know you completed the form and know what your preferences are. Don’t keep this a secret.