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Advance Directives Forms and Laws

The WVU Center for Health Ethics and Law endeavors to improve the quality of patient care in West Virginia by providing information to patients and families so they can make informed choices and their wishes respected.


Advance Directives are legal documents outlining patient's general wishes for medical care.  These are completed in "advance" of becoming too sick to make decisions for yourself.  Advance directives are recommended for everyone age 18 and older (including mature and emancipated minors). 

WV Medical Power of Attorney Form - A medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to name a person to make health care decisions for you if you are too sick to make them for yourself.

WV Living Will Form - A living will is a legal document that tells your doctor how you want to be treated if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious and cannot make decisions for yourself.

WV Combined Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will Form - This one document combines both the living will and medical power of attorney documents and should be used if you want to name a health care decision maker and do not want machines and other medical interventions to keep you alive when you are dying or permanently unconscious.

Frequently Asked Questions Booklet about Advance Directives and Forms (Includes Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will and Combined Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney forms.)

Mental Health Advance Directive - A mental health advance directive (MHAD), also known as a psychiatric advance directive, is a legal tool that allows persons with mental illness to state their preferences for treatment in advance of a crisis. MHAD provides a way to protect a person’s autonomy and ability to self-direct care for treatment of mental health disorders similar to medical powers of attorneys, living wills and other medical advance care planning documents used to direct care for medical disorders in palliative care and end-of-life care.


Medical orders (POST and DNR) are legal documents outlining patient's wishes for specific medical care.  Medical orders can be honored by all health care providers (including emergency medical service [EMS] providers).

WV Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Patient Brochure - The WV Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Card is a medical order that protects the rights of persons who do not want to have CPR in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. The DNR card is completed by a health care provider after discussion with the patient or incapacitated patient’s medical power of attorney representative or surrogate decision-maker. Once completed, the provider must sign the form. 

WV POST Patient Brochure -The POST form is a medical order form for people with serious illness issued by your physician to inform health care providers about your treatment wishes. It gives you more choices for the types of treatment you want and do not want than the DNR card but is not appropriate for everyone.