4600. This division may be cited as the Health Care Decisions Law.
4603. Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, the
definitions in this chapter govern the construction of this division.
4605. "Advance health care directive" or "advance directive" means
either an individual health care instruction or a power of attorney
for health care.
4607. (a) "Agent" means an individual designated in a power of
attorney for health care to make a health care decision for the
principal, regardless of whether the person is known as an agent or
attorney-in-fact, or by some other term.
(b) "Agent" includes a successor or alternate agent.
4609. "Capacity" means a person's ability to understand the nature
and consequences of a decision and to make and communicate a
decision, and includes in the case of proposed health care, the
ability to understand its significant benefits, risks, and
4611. "Community care facility" means a "community care facility"
as defined in Section 1502 of the Health and Safety Code.
4613. "Conservator" means a court-appointed conservator having
authority to make a health care decision for a patient.
4615. "Health care" means any care, treatment, service, or
procedure to maintain, diagnose, or otherwise affect a patient's
physical or mental condition.
4617. "Health care decision" means a decision made by a patient or
the patient's agent, conservator, or surrogate, regarding the patient'
s health care, including the following:
(a) Selection and discharge of health care providers and
(b) Approval or disapproval of diagnostic tests, surgical
procedures, and programs of medication.
(c) Directions to provide, withhold, or withdraw artificial
nutrition and hydration and all other forms of health care, including
4619. "Health care institution" means an institution, facility, or
agency licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized or permitted by
law to provide health care in the ordinary course of business.
4621. "Health care provider" means an individual licensed,
certified, or otherwise authorized or permitted by the law of this
state to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or
practice of a profession.
4623. "Individual health care instruction" or "individual
instruction" means a patient's written or oral direction concerning a
health care decision for the patient.
4625. "Patient" means an adult whose health care is under
consideration, and includes a principal under a power of attorney for
health care and an adult who has given an individual health care
instruction or designated a surrogate.
4627. "Physician" means a physician and surgeon licensed by the
Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of
4629. "Power of attorney for health care" means a written
instrument designating an agent to make health care decisions for the
4631. "Primary physician" means a physician designated by a patient
or the patient's agent, conservator, or surrogate, to have primary
responsibility for the patient's health care or, in the absence of a
designation or if the designated physician is not reasonably
available or declines to act as primary physician, a physician who
undertakes the responsibility.
4633. "Principal" means an adult who executes a power of attorney
for health care.
4635. "Reasonably available" means readily able to be contacted
without undue effort and willing and able to act in a timely manner
considering the urgency of the patient's health care needs.
4637. "Residential care facility for the elderly" means a
"residential care facility for the elderly" as defined in Section
1569.2 of the Health and Safety Code.
4639. "Skilled nursing facility" means a "skilled nursing facility"
as defined in Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code.
4641. "Supervising health care provider" means the primary
physician or, if there is no primary physician or the primary
physician is not reasonably available, the health care provider who
has undertaken primary responsibility for a patient's health care.
4643. "Surrogate" means an adult, other than a patient's agent or
conservator, authorized under this division to make a health care
decision for the patient.