Many West Virginians have set down in writing their wishes for healthcare in case they are unable to make decisions during a future hospitalization. Now such documents will be organized into an electronic registry thanks to a $100,000 start-up grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

The West Virginia University Center for Health Ethics and Law will develop a registry to hold the documents, making them readily available to healthcare providers and institutions.

The documents will include advance directives (living wills and medical powers of attorney) that outline what actions a patient wants taken if he or she is too ill to communicate – along with do-not-resuscitate cards and physician orders for scope of treatment (POST) forms.

The registry will also serve as a backup to provide information to Emergency Medical Services, hospital emergency departments, hospitals, nursing homes and hospices in case the forms are urgently needed and otherwise unavailable.

“The registry will help to ensure that the treatment preferences of seriously ill West Virginians will be honored because patients’ advance directives will be more consistently available at the time of an emergency,” said Alvin H. Moss, M.D., director of the Center for Health Ethics and Law.

Starting in 2010 West Virginians can send their advance directive documents to the electronic registry. Dr. Moss said, “2010 will be a good year for West Virginians who have advance directives to review them to ensure that they still represent their wishes. For those who do not have advance directives, it will be a good time to complete them knowing that a back-up copy can be stored in an electronic registry available to their healthcare providers in case of an emergency.”

Information about end-of-life care options and advance directive, do-not-resuscitate cards and POST forms are available at or by calling 877-209-8086.


For More Information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087