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What is the difference between a Medical Power of Attorney and a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment?

Declaration for Mental Health Treatment is strictly limited in scope of treatments and in time.

  • Declaration is limited in scope to the following decisions:
    • Electroconvulsive or other convulsive treatment
    • Treatment of mental illness with psychoactive medication
    • Emergency mental health treatment

Note: A Medical Power of Attorney agent, however, cannot consent to voluntary inpatient mental health services, convulsive (electroshock) treatment, and psychosurgery.

In addition, if the medical treatment you need may be consented to by a Medical Power of Attorney agent, but there is a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment in place for that treatment, the Declaration will override the Medical Power of Attorney.

  • Declaration is strictly limited in the length of time that it is effective:
  • Declaration is effective only for 3 years from the date it is signed (unless you become incompetent, in which case it remains effective for as long as you are incompetent).

Note: A Medical Power of Attorney remains effective until the expiration date listed by the principal (if any) or until revoked.