This page is designed to assist you in writing a Psychiatric Advance Directive. Having a Psychiatric Advance Directive helps insure you have the quality of care you need and that your wishes for treatment are carried out even if -- in the moment -- you are declared unable to make those decisions.
|A sample Psychiatric Advance Directive||pdf version||word version.|
Everyone should be allowed to make the important decisions regarding their health care. Whether it is choosing to undergo a surgical procedure, take a certain medication or receive life support, every individual should have the final say in how they are cared for. Advance directives are legal documents that provide a statement of a patient’s treatment preferences or wishes in the event that person becomes incapacitated, including situations where we have been placed in temporary detention or involuntary commitment.
Advance directives are a very powerful tool for all of us but are often overlooked. Creation of an advance directive is an important step in preventing unwanted treatment and giving us the power we deserve.
Everyone has the right to two basic types of advance directives:
They can specify their wishes regarding treatment or services through an Instruction Directive. This written documentcan include desired options to avoid or minimize hospitalization; preferred stress-relieving activities; emergency contacts; list of activities known to worsen symptoms; preferred or problematic medications; preferences in regard to the use of devices such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) or Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT); and alternatives or preferences to the use of seclusion or restraint.
The second, a Proxy or Agent Directive, establishes the
individual’s wishes regarding treatment power-of-attorney or decision making
authority. In this option, individuals are urged to select an agent that
understands the role and responsibilities, as well as the mental health system. An
agent’s decisions are expected to reflect what the individual would have
preferred. Virginia requires agents to apply a “best interest”
standard, based on what the agent believes will best serve the patient’s needs.
The ten commonly asked questions about Psychiatric Advance Directives in Virginia located below is by the National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives.
Ten commonly asked questions about PAD's for Virginia
Please note: the following 10 FAQs are designed to provide a quick and accessible guide to what your state’s Statutes say – or do not say – about PADs. The FAQs do not attempt to provide a complete picture of the law in your state, nor can they take the place of legal advice. The answers were accurate when written in September 2006.
1. Can I write a legally-binding psychiatric advance directive (PAD)?
Yes. You may use Virginia’s Health Care Decisions Act to appoint an agent to make decisions about your psychiatric treatment if you become incompetent to make those decisions; or to write instructions about how you would like your psychiatric treatment to proceed; or both. A standard form is provided in the statute. You do not have to use it, as long as you create a written document and follow the procedural rules set out below.
2. Can I write advance instructions regarding psychiatric
medications and/or hospitalization?