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Advance Heath Directives


Health directives include advance medical directives, also known as a health care directive, living will, personal directive, advance directive, or advance decision. They are legal documents in which a person specifies their wishes for future health or medical treatment if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. The advance directive designates the individual(s) who can make health care decisions on their behalf.

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  • Advance care planning is not just about old age. At any age, a medical crisis could leave you too ill to make your own healthcare decisions. Planning for health care in the future is an important step toward making sure you get the medical care you would want, if you are unable to speak for yourself and doctors and family members are making the decisions for you.

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  • Avoid confusion: let others know what you want

    Advance directives explain how you want medical decisions to be made when you're too ill to speak for yourself.

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  • An Advance Health Care Directive (or Advance Medical Directive) allows you to state what you want for your own medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Learn more about this important document.

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  • The Commonwealth of Virginia has a statewide Advance Health Care Directive Registry, allowing all Virginia residents to electronically store their important documents (Advanced Health Care Directive, Health Care Power of Attorney, Declaration of Anatomical Gift, etc.). Links to Advance Directive forms are provided.

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  • A guide to handling a loved one's hospitalization, including how to communicate with the medical team and the types of paperwork and information everyone needs on-hand in the event of a hospitalization.

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  • Have you done Advance Care Planning for your health care. Are your affairs in order? This infographic provides a checklist to make legal and financial plans now for your health care in the future. 

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  • Virginia Premier shares three things you need to know about advance care planning.

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  • This guide from Honoring Choices® Virginia provides helpful information on planning in advance for future health care choices.