Vermonters Signing Up for Advance Directive Registry

For Immediate Release: September 17, 2007
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – More than 700 Vermonters have signed up for the “Vermont Advance Directive Registry” established in February by the Vermont Department of Health. An advance directive establishes a clear course of action for Vermonters and their family members in the event of an incapacitating illness, coma, or end-of-life care situation.

But locating the advance directive document can be a stumbling block to following patient wishes when a patient is unconscious or unable to communicate. The Vermont Advance Directive Registry electronically stores advance directives in a secure database that can be accessed at any time by health care providers.

The Vermont Ethics Network and the Health Department are continuing to encourage Vermonters to sign up for the registry. Vermont is one of the few states nationwide that offers an electronic advance directive registry.

“It is a real benefit to have a copy of your advance directive documents so readily available and stored in an electronic database easily accessible to hospitals,” said John Campbell, executive director of the Vermont Ethics Network. “Every one should take advantage of this service, which is free to Vermonters. It protects Vermonters and ensures that your critical health care decisions will be honored. We hope to have several thousand people signed up by the end of the year.”

The advance directive serves as a “living will” or a “durable power of attorney for healthcare” and is accessible only to authorized health care providers, health care facilities, funeral directors and crematory operators.

The registry will provide identifying information, emergency contact information, and a copy of the advance directive to any qualified provider.

For more information and to create and register your advance directive, visit the Vermont Department of Health website: http://healthvermont.gov/vadr/.

Various types of advanced directive forms and a downloadable Registration Agreement can be accessed through the Health Department website. The forms need to be filled out and mailed.

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