Advance Directive Information

In 1991, the federal government passed the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA), guaranteeing individuals the right to make health care decisions and indicate preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments. The PSDA requires that health care providers receiving federal funding are to inform patients about advance directives.

Despite a patient's right to determine future care, research reveals that most Americans have not completed a living will nor designated a health care power of attorney. Also, people who have completed advance directives often do not share that important information with their physicians.

Studies have demonstrated that physician counseling markedly increases the completion rate of advance directives. Having these discussions with your patients should be part of an annual visit. It is every patient's right to complete advance directives if they choose to do so, and no one can deny care or discriminate against them as a result of the choice they make.

Below is information to assist in the dialog with patients and families, along with links to resources with state-specific living will and health care power of attorney forms. The Health Plan has additional tools, including educational booklets and flip-board discussion guides that can be sent to your office. Please contact Customer Service for more information by calling 1.888.847.7902.

  • West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care
    Website helping West Virginians have their wishes respected and pain controlled at the end of life.
  • Caring Connections
    Website providing resources, as well as free advance directives and instructions for each state, for you and your patient.
  • Respecting Choices
    A website aimed at professional health care providers to help them implement effective, patient-centered systems within their community or organization.
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
    An organization that advocates for the terminally ill and their families. It also develops public and professional educational programs and materials to enhance understanding and availability of hospice and palliative care.
  • Understanding Advance Directives
    Patient education handout explaining the importance of advance directives.
  • Advance Directive Poster
    Advance Directive 8.5x14 poster to hang in your office to begin the conversation of the importance of advance directives.
  • Advance Directives Flow Chart
    This algorithm can be used to record patient's education on advance directives and advance care planning.