As of January, 2007, the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will are both part of a single form entitled the "New Hampshire Advance Directive".
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document by which you nominate an agent to make all health care decisions for you when you are not capable of making those decisions for yourself. You may also limit the decisions your agent can make and/or give additional instructions to your agent.
Your health care provider will contact your health care agent for guidance only if you are unable to give direction about your health care. Your agent has the duty to make decisions in accordance with your wishes if those wishes are known. If your wishes are not known, your agent must act in your best interest and in accordance with accepted medical practices. As long as you remain competent, you may revoke the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care at any time.
A Living Will is a document by which you make known your wishes regarding when you would want or not want life sustaining medical treatment to try to prolong your life if you suffer from an advanced life-limiting, incurable and progressive condition.
Your health care provider will rely on your Living Will only if you are unable to express your wishes at the appropriate time, and your health care agent is unavailable to act on your behalf.
The Dartmouth Dementia Directive is a supplemental document that may be used in conjunction with, and not as a replacement for, the standard New Hampshire Advance Directive. This document is designed to address the gradual loss in decision-making ability which is associated with dementia.