A Virginia Advance Directive is a crucial form that allows of-age individuals to have legal control over their medical treatment in the event when they are unable to speak for themselves. When a patient does not have their wishes about the kinds of medical treatment they do or do not want to receive specified, these decisions can be placed in the hands of family members, doctors, or even judges, who may know very little about what the patient prefers.
Virginia has two forms released by state authorities for this purpose:
The documents are regulated by § 54.1-2981 through § 54.1-2993 of the Virginia Health Care Decisions Act and must be witnessed by two (2) people. Advance Directives provide an efficient and flexible format for planning out future health care and gives patients the option of electing a trusted individual or health professional to oversee their care.
There is a difference between a Virginia Advance Directive and a Virginia Living Will. The former are oral or written instructions about future medical care in case the individual becomes too ill to communicate. The latter is a specific type of directive that takes effect only when a patient is terminally ill.
Advance Directives are legally binding documents that outline an individual’s wishes regarding life support, resuscitation and other interventions for both their health care team and family members. The paperwork for all Advance Directives for Health Care includes two parts in total – a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney.