A health care power of attorney, an advance directive also referred to as a health care proxy, is a medical power of attorney that allows an individual to grant another person, a proxy, the right and authority to handle matters related to his/her medical care.
This durable power of attorney for health care allows the health care proxy to make decisions regarding personal care, medical treatment, hospitalization, health care and medical procedures during a period of incapacity. A durable document continues in effect and/or takes effect when the principal party is incapacitated or disabled.
Another type of advance directive is a Living Will. A Living Will is a written statement of a person's health care and medical wishes in the event of a terminal illness. Living wills only apply to decisions regarding "life-sustaining treatment". It does not appoint another person to make health care or other medical decisions.