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What is an Advance Medical Directive?

You may have heard others talking about an Advance Medical Directive documents and wondered whether they are something you could benefit from. An Advance Medical Directive is a legal document which allows you to choose a person you trust to make decisions regarding your healthcare should you become incapacitated. The individual you name as your representative in your Advance Medical Directive should be someone you know would make the same decisions you would make, if you were able. The types of decisions an Advance Medical Directive can cover include:

  • The decision to place you on life support—or take you off life support—when doctors have determined there is no hope of you getting better;
  • The decision to withhold any type of healthcare, including medical and surgical treatments;
  • The decision to withdraw any type of healthcare, including medical and surgical treatments;
  • The decision to place you in a nursing home for treatment;
  • The decision to place you in a psychiatric treatment facility;
  • The decision to hospitalize you;
  • The decision to discharge you from a medical facility, nursing home, residential care facility or assisted living facility, even against medical advice;
  • The decision to apply for public or private health care benefits on your behalf;
  • The decision to hire or fire medical, social service or other support personnel responsible for your care;
  • The decision to authorize your participation in medical research related to your medical condition;
  • The decision to agree or refuse use of any medication or procedure intended to relieve pain or discomfort, and
  • Decisions concerning autopsy, disposition of your remains and organ donation.

Since it is important that the right medical, and possibly legal parties, be able to access your AMD, The Commonwealth of Virginia has a statewide Advance Health Care Directive Registry (AHCDR). AHCDR is a secure registry, available to all legal Virginia residents, where you can keep documents that detail and protect your health care wishes in the event you become unable to speak for yourself. These documents include medical power of attorney, do-not-resuscitate orders and other health care wishes. For more information please use this link: Advance Health Care Directive Registry.

As always, we recommend that you make provisions for your loved ones in the event of an unexpected tragedy, and put your mind at ease. Contact us today to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney.