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Advance Medical Directives

Although no one expects to become incapacitated, it can happen to anyone regardless of age. If you cannot make medical decisions for yourself, an advance medical directive makes your wishes clear to your loved ones. It also gives an agent or agents of your choosing the power to make medical decisions for you. Below, we will examine why advance medical directives are so important.

What is an Advance Medical Directive?

Under the Virginia Health Care Decisions Act, adults in the Commonwealth of Virginia have a right to make their wishes known regarding their medical treatment if they become incapacitated. Through an advance medical directive, you can give your family confidence that they are properly carrying out your wishes, even though you may be unable to speak for yourself.

Through the directive, you are permitted to appoint an agent, who has the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. You can give a power of attorney as much control over your medical affairs as you want to. You might give your medical power of attorney authority over healthcare-related decisions such as:

  • The type of medical treatment you receive, such as surgery, medications, and in-home care
  • The facility where you are treated
  • The physicians who treat you
  • The place where you reside, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, depending on the circumstances of your condition
  • Your daily healthcare providers

A living will also qualify as an advance directive under Virginia law. You can outline your medical and psychiatric treatment preferences in a living will. If you have specific end-of-life wishes, you can use the living will to communicate those wishes to your loved ones and healthcare providers.

Why is it Important to Have an Advance Medical Directive In Place?

While it may seem obvious, it is nonetheless true: advance medical directives are important because no one can predict the future.

Many believe that advance medical directives are only for elderly individuals or people dealing with significant health problems. But the truth is that no matter how old you are or how good your health is, life can change in an instant. Even if you are young and active, you never know when you might suddenly become incapacitated due to injury or illness.

For example, if you are involved in a car accident and you enter a coma while you recover, you will not be able to make medical decisions for yourself. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident that results in significant head trauma, you may not be able to communicate to your doctors for an extended period.

Having an advance medical directive can prevent confusion regarding your desires.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Establish an Advanced Medical Directive

An attorney can help you document your preferences and make your wishes known through an advance medical directive. Your attorney can walk you through advance care planning and help you create a directive that reflects your wishes and values.

Creating a legally binding document is complex, but a lawyer can help simplify the process by writing the directive for you. Your lawyer will ensure that the document is valid. Contact us today if you have questions about how our legal team can help you establish an advance medical directive.

How Taylor, Taylor & Taylor Could Help

The lawyers at Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Inc. have the necessary knowledge and experience to help you navigate through the process of creating an advance medical directive. Contact us today for a consultation.

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