Do You Have an Advance Directive? Learn Why It Is Important to Spell Out Your Wishes.

Most people find it difficult to think about the type of medical care they want if they are incapacitated and unable to communicate with their doctors at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. It is human nature to think that a serious medical condition will never happen. Unfortunately, medical issues do arise and it is in the best interest of every adult to be well prepared.

The state of Virginia provides every adult with the right to prepare an advance directive, a legal document that puts medical care preferences in writing. Doctors and family members will use this document as a guide when the sick or injured person is unable to express his wishes.

There are two kinds of advance directives:

  • Power of attorney for health care – This type of advance directive allows individuals to appoint another person to make health care decisions for them in the event they become incapable of making these decisions for themselves. This directive ensures that important health care decisions are made by a trusted family member or friend.
  • Living will – Many people have preferences regarding the kinds of life-prolonging treatment—tube feeding, mechanical breathing, and resuscitation—they want or do not want. In cases when they can no longer make decisions on their own, the living will guide their doctors and other medical professionals.


An advance directive is something that every adult in Virginia should consider. These legal documents will ensure that your wishes are carried out and that family members do not have to make difficult decisions about your care at an emotional and difficult time. It is never too soon to plan for the future, but it can quickly become too late.

Take your future into your hands and have an attorney with advance directive experience be your guide. Call 757-625-1214 today for a consultation. Our experienced attorneys will take the time to ensure that your medical wishes are set in stone.