Virginia Advance Directives
Who can help people to fill out an AD in Virginia?
Previously, only attorneys and health care providers could help individuals complete ADs in Virginia. However, as of July 1, 2017, Virginia law also allows for “qualified advance directive facilitators” to help individuals to complete ADs. A qualified advance directive facilitator is any adult who has successfully completed a training program approved by the Virginia Department of Health (Va. Code §§ 54.1-2982, 2988.1).
Though an individual may choose to write an advance directive by his or herself, research and personal experiences have shown that advance directives are much more useful when created with the assistance of a facilitator.
Why would I want to go through training to become an AD facilitator?
Facilitators are valuable because of their knowledge of advance directives and because they know how to stimulate conversation regarding the individual’s wants and needs in an unbiased way. Training programs teach the content of advance directives and reviews the interpersonal skills necessary for successful facilitating.
Because the training also includes an observation component, facilitators have the opportunity to practice their facilitation skills and receive feedback. You will feel more prepared and comfortable as a facilitator having gone through the training.
How can I sign up for facilitator training?
Currently, there are four Virginia Department of Health-approved advance directive facilitator training programs in Virginia. However, only the DBHDS-UVa program covers mental health care planning. This training was created in collaboration with DBHDS, dLCV, MHAV, and VOCAL.
UVa provides this training by traveling to agencies (e.g., community services boards, peer support agencies, hospitals) that have voiced an interest in the training. If you are an individual interested in the training, we encourage you to find out if others at your agency would like to do the training too.
If you are an interested individual, or a representative of an agency that would like to request training for a group, please contact:
Cynthia Elledge, Ph.D.
Advance Directive Implementation Coordinator
DBHDS & UVa Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy
This website is not intended to provide legal advice. It is merely a guide, and reflects one view of Advance Directives in Virginia. It can be beneficial to consult with an attorney regarding your Advance Directive. However, the intention of Virginia’s law on Advance Directives is to enable and encourage all capable adults to fill out an Advance Directive on their own.
This website is designed and administered by Mental Health America of Virginia (MHAV) and is funded through a grant by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
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