What is LPA, AMD and ACP? Can they overwrite each other?

The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and Advance Medical Directive (AMD) are 2 different legal documents that serve very different purposes. The scope of LPA and AMD does not overlap and hence they do not overwrite each other.

While the Advance Care Plan (ACP) is not a legal document, it helps you to communicate your values and healthcare preferences to your loved ones, and your care team. ACP helps to avoid guilt, stress, and conflicts among your loved ones, as your choices guide them towards making important care decisions for you. The ACP complements your LPA and AMD as it documents your preferences which helps serve as a guide.

What is LPA?

The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you ('Donor') who is at least 21 years of age, to voluntarily appoint one or more persons ('Donee(s)') to make decisions and act on your behalf if you loses mental capacity one day. A Donee can be appointed to act in the two broad areas of personal welfare and property & affairs matters.

The LPA grants your Donee legal rights to make decisions for you but it does not tell your Donee the specifics of what to do for your personal welfare in the event they need to act on your behalf. Such finer details are not covered within the LPA document. This is where ACP can come in to provide some guidance. 

An ACP helps you to communicate to your loved one, who may also be your Donee, about what to do about your personal welfare. Examples of personal welfare matters include: where you should live, who you should live with, daily lifestyle, and healthcare decisions. To reduce conflicting decisions among family members, it is generally recommended that the Donee appointed in your LPA is also the nominated healthcare spokesperson in your ACP.

What is AMD?

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) is a legal document that you sign in advance to inform the doctor treating you (in the event you become terminally ill and unconscious) that you DO NOT want any extraordinary life-sustaining treatment to be used to prolong your life.

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) only covers your refusal for life-sustaining treatment when: (1) you lack mental capacity; (2) are terminally ill; (3) and require extraordinary life-sustaining treatment

Whichever the case might be, there are still many healthcare decisions that are important for your loved ones and healthcare team to know, for example, pain management options, where you would like to be cared for, and where you would like to spend your last days. This is where ACP can come in to provide some guidance.

What is ACP?

This acronym refers to both the Advance Care Planning (ACP) process as well as the Advance Care Plan (ACP) document itself.

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process of planning for your current and future healthcare. The ACP document helps you to communicate to your loved ones and healthcare team about your values and how these values shape your healthcare preferences. In the event you are unable to make decisions or speak for yourself, your ACP guides your loved ones and healthcare team to make decisions in your best interest.

Here's a quick summary of the 3 different documents:
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