VDH Reminds Virginians of Importance of Advance Health Care Directive

April 15, 2015


Registry makes planning ahead easy

(Richmond, Va.)-National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16, is an excellent time for Virginians to make sure they have plans in place for advance health care and that those plans are up-to-date. It also provides an opportunity for health care providers to discuss the subject of advance planning with their patients.

“Having an advance health care directive allows individuals to make clear, in writing, their wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatment and end-of-life care, should the time come when they are unable to express those wishes themselves,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP. “Equally important, establishing these plans in advance lessens the emotional burden and anguish for loved ones who would otherwise be left to make such agonizing decisions.”

The Virginia Department of Health made this process easier for residents by implementing a statewide Advance Health Care Directive Registry (AHCDR) in 2011. The secure registry, available to all legal Virginia residents, stores documents that detail and protect medical care wishes in the event a person is incapacitated. These documents include medical power of attorney, do-not-resuscitate wishes and other treatment wishes needed when a person is unable to speak for themselves.

In Virginia, individuals may authorize health care providers, hospitals and other health care organizations to submit advance health care documents to the Registry on their behalf. By greatly expanding the potential for Registry participation while reducing the barriers to document accessibility for medical providers in times of crisis, Virginia continues to demonstrate national leadership in advanced care planning.

Documents submitted to the Registry are available online 24/7 to anyone the registrant chooses to authorize, such as family, friends, treating physicians and hospitals. Virginia residents can visit www.connectvirginia.org/adr/ and create an account for themselves free of charge. Once an account has been created, documents may be submitted online, by fax or by mail.

To find out more about National Healthcare Decisions Day, visit www.nhdd.org. For additional information about the AHCDR, or to register and upload your documents, please visit www.connectvirginia.org/adr/.

If you have questions or need help creating your account or uploading documents, please contact the Help Desk.