Health Care Directives

Texas Law

  • Allows an individual, including a minor, through a Medical Power of Attorney, to designate an agent to make health care decisions on that individual's behalf if the individual's doctor certifies that the individual is incompetent to make such decisions.
  • Unless otherwise stated, a Medical Power of Attorney gives the representative the authority to make any and all health care decisions in accordance with the individual's wishes. The representative may consent, refuse, withdraw, or withhold treatment, including life-sustaining services. This power of attorney does not allow for a decision on voluntary inpatient mental health services, convulsive treatment, psychosurgery, abortion, or the neglect of the individual through the omission of care primarily intended to provide for comfort.
  • A Medical Power of Attorney must be completed while the individual is competent to make the needed decisions, and witnessed by two people. At least one of the witnesses cannot be a health care provider, employee, spouse, or heir of the individual.
  • If an individual becomes incompetent before a Medical Power of Attorney has been completed, a guardianship procedure may be appropriate. Please see Guardianship Key Laws for more information.
  • Provides that if an individual is incompetent or unable to communicate his or her own medical decisions and no guardian or representative with Medical Power of Attorney has been appointed, then medical decisions may be made by the attending physician with the cooperation of one of the following people: the patient's spouse, an available adult child of the patient, one of the patient's parents, or the patient's nearest living relative.
  • Provides that an individual may execute an advanced directive which notifies the attending physician of an individual's desire that extraordinary measures not be used to sustain life if the individual is diagnosed with a terminal condition wherein death is near or imminent.
  • Requires that a registry of health care providers willing to assist in the transfer of a patient to a physician or facility available to provide or withhold life-sustaining treatment and other services be posted on the Texas Health Care Council’s website.
  • Requires the development of published model standards for the operation of a boarding home facility.
  • Requires the State's nursing home facilities to have available for use an automated external defibrillator and requires each institution to comply with provisions of law relating to the training.
  • Provides for a lifespan respite services program for caretakers of Texans who have a chronic serious health condition or disability.
  • Provides for the creation of an electronic registry to track glycosylated hemoglobin levels of Texans with diabetes mellitus.
  • The Texas Estates Code added Chapter 1357 to authorize supported decision-making agreements for certain adults with disabilities. It adds supported decision-making agreements to the Estate Code as an informal alternative to guardianship to maximize the autonomy and rights by people with a disability.

Texas Statutes