Advance Directives

North Carolina has two laws that govern Psychiatric Advance Directives (PAD):

G.S. 122C-71 through 77 and
G.S. 32A-15 through 25.

You have the right to make advance instructions for your mental health, intellectual/developmental disability, or substance abuse treatment.

You also have the right to file a grievance with the State Certification and Survey Agency if you feel that the advance directive law has not been correctly followed.

Vaya Health has policies about the implementation of those rights. Below you will find the additional information you need to know:

The PAD, or Advance Directive for Mental Healthcare, is a legal document that provides instructions for your mental health treatment if you cannot communicate or make voluntary decisions for yourself. The instructions may include statements about:

  • What calms you
  • How you feel about seclusion or electroconvulsive therapy
  • What medicines you do not want to take
  • Which doctor you want in charge of your treatment

These are decisions you can make in advance of any situation in which you are unable to communicate your wishes regarding your care. You can provide specific instructions to be followed by a physician or psychologist in this event. Your instructions may be overridden if you are held in accordance with civil commitment law.

Duke University designed the Psychiatric Advance Directive and Health Care Power of Attorney legal forms. Even if you do not wish to file these forms as legal documents, the questions asked on the forms will help you plan for and think about what kind of treatment you would want in a crisis. Our Consumer and Family Support Team can send you the forms and help you consider these important questions.

Call our Consumer and Family Support Team at 1-888-757-5726.

Under the Health Care Power of Attorney legal form, you may appoint a person as your health care agent to make treatment decisions for you. The powers granted by this document are broad and sweeping; under North Carolina law, your doctor or your treatment provider cannot make these decisions.

Another way you can specify your treatment in a hospital is with a formal Living Will. A Living Will goes into effect when you are unable to share what you want regarding your care, or when you are in a persistent vegetative state. A Living Will is a document that tells others that you want to die a natural death if you are incurably sick and cannot receive nutrition or breathe on your own.

All of the documents referenced in this section must be written and signed by you while you still understand your condition, treatment choices, and can otherwise make your wishes known. Two qualified people must witness these advance directives. The Living Will and the Health Care Power of Attorney must be notarized. Keep a copy of these forms in a safe place, and give copies to your family, treatment team, doctor, and the hospital where you are likely to receive treatment.

You can also arrange to have your Psychiatric Advance Directive filed in a national database. Specifically, you can choose to file your Psychiatric Advance Directive in the North Carolina Advance Health Care Directive Registry, which is part of the Department of the North Carolina Secretary of State. There is a $10.00 fee to register a Psychiatric Advance Directive. This includes the registration, a revocation form, a registration card, and a password. You can use the revocation form at any time if you change your mind about the directive.

Call 1-800-849-6127 toll free 24/7 to access mental health, substance use and intellectual and/or developmental disability services. Members can request materials in Spanish or English.

Llamar al número gratuito 1-800-849-6127 24/7 para obtener servicios y apoyo a la salud mental, discapacidades de desarrollo y abuso de sustancias. Los miembros pueden solicitar materiales en español o Inglés.