A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is generally
more useful than an Advance Directive. It becomes effective any time a person is unconscious or unable to make medical decisions. The selected agent can make decisions for a patient whenever the patient cannot, even if the patient's decision-making ability is only temporarily affected.
How is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care different from an Advance Directive?
Both documents apply only when a person is unable to make heath care decisions. However, an Advance Directive applies only if the patient has a terminal illness or an injury likely to be fatal and has specified in the Advance Directive the life-sustaining procedures to be provided, withheld or withdrawn. It provides instructions to the doctor. Use of the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is not limited to patients with a terminal condition or to decisions about life-sustaining procedures.