Mental Health and Medical Directives – The Psychiatric Advance Directive

When putting together an advanced medical directive in Virginia – it is very common for clients to focus on end of life wishes.  However, when having these discussions it is just as important to discuss the mental health of the individuals involved and whether or not their health would benefit from a Psychiatric Advance Directive – an advance directive that focuses on the mental needs of the client.

A Psychiatric Advance Directive is a separate document from a traditional Virginia Advanced Medical Directive and is intended to work in tandem with an advanced medical directive.  In the Psychiatric Advance Directive the principal will seek to make their wishes known should they become incapable of making an informed decision with respect to treatment of any mental illness or mental disease which may now or in the future afflict them.

As with all fiduciary documents, a Psychiatric Advanced Directive can be tailored to an individual client’s needs.  No two documents are the same.  Each client’s wishes can be expressed and different situations may be handled in different manners.  These directives can be drafted to be simple and limited as well as being drafted to be detailed and powerful – including granting a loved one the ability to make medical decisions even if the individual principal were to protest or object to recommended treatment for such mental illness or mental disease.

Of course, what provisions should or should not be included in your Psychiatric Advance Directive is contingent on you, your health and your personal family structure.  You are the one granting the power – you are the one deciding what powers you feel comfortable granting another.  You are the one giving your loved one the power to care for you if you can not.

If you have questions about putting a Psychiatric Advance Directive in place or if a Psychiatric Advance Directive could help someone in your family, please feel free to reach out to or call us at (804) 423.1382.  We would like to help.