Virginia Advance Directives
The doctor must tell you of the decision and put it in your record.
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:
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**,
*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.
How is the AD turned off if I don’t need it anymore?
Who decides that I cannot make health care decisions?
It takes two doctors to make that call and turn on your AD.*
As soon as a doctor treating you finds that you can make health care decisions, your Advance Directive is turned off.
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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