and

Who decides that I cannot make health care decisions?

It takes two doctors to make that call and turn on your AD.* 


Specifically:

When Will My Advance Directive Be Used?

How is the AD turned off if I don’t need it anymore?

*An individual cannot be found unable to make health care decisions just because the person has a diagnosed mental illness. (Va. Code §54.1-2982)


​**A second doctor or licensed clinical psychologist’s opinion is not needed if someone is in a coma.

As soon as a doctor treating you finds that you can make health care decisions, your Advance Directive is turned off.  

  • if a mental health crisis affects someone’s thinking, or
  • if another type of disease (e.g., dementia) affects someone’s thinking, or
  • if a treatment has a side effect that affects thinking.

The doctor must tell you of the decision and put it in your record.

The attending doctor must assess you in person and decide that you cannot make health care decisions for yourself,


A second doctor or a licensed clinical psychologist must assess you in person and independently decide that you cannot make health care decisions for yourself**,

Your AD is used only when you need it.

An AD is a back-up plan for a time when you cannot make health care decisions for yourself. 


People might not be able to make health care decisions because of:

  • Physical injury – for example, if a person is in a coma after a car accident, or
  • Illness – for example,