You have the right to provide advance written instructions to health care workers about the type of health care you want or do not want.

This is important if you become so ill or injured that you cannot speak for yourself. These decisions are called Advance Directives. Advance Directives are legal papers you prepare while you are healthy. In Colorado, they include:

  • A Medical Durable Power of Attorney: This names a person you trust to make decisions for you if you cannot speak for yourself.
  • A Living Will: This tells your doctor what type of life sustaining procedures you want and do not want.
  • A Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Directive: This is also known as a “Do Not Resuscitate” Order. It tells medical persons not to revive you if your heart and/or lungs stop working.

For more information about Advance Directives, talk with your Primary Care Physician (PCP). Your PCP will have an Advance Directives form that you can fill out. The NBH Office of Member and Family Affairs or your local client advocates can give you information on how to make an Advance Directive.

Your mental health provider will ask you if you have an Advance Directive and if you want a copy placed in your mental health record. But you do not need to have an advance directive to get mental health care.

If you think your providers are not following your Advance Directive, you can file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. They can be reached at:

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, Colorado 80246-1530
(303) 692-2000

If you would like more information on Advance Directives, you can go to the State of Colorado’s website and read the State law on Advance Directives. This link is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to give advice or suggest what you should do.

Creating a mental health crisis plan

Colorado does not have a law about mental health advance directives. However, it is a good idea to have a crisis plan. A crisis plan will help you have more control over decisions if you do have a mental health crisis. Talk with your mental health provider or Care Coordinator about writing a crisis plan.