What does it mean to witness an advance directive?
Witnessing an advance directive simply means that you are signing the form to verify that the individual whose directive it is actually signed it and signed it freely and seems generally able to do so.
Can a VUMC staff member serve as a witness on an advance directive?
VUMC staff may serve as a witness on an Advance Directive for Health Care or an Appointment of Health Care Agent when the following guidelines are met:
- The VUMC staff member is not actively involved in the patient's care at the time the document is being signed.
- The VUMC staff member is not the attending physician.
- The VUMC staff member is not an employee of the attending physician.
Are there any advance directives that a VUMC staff member cannot serve as a witness?
VUMC staff may not serve as a witness under the following circumstances:
- The VUMC staff member is actively involved in the patient's care at the time the document is being signed.
- A VUMC staff member may never serve as a witness on the patient’s Living Will.
- A VUMC staff member may never serve as a witness on the patient’s Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
- A VUMC staff member may never serve as a witness on a Will or a General Power of Attorney document. Both of these documents deal with the patient’s property and finances.
What do I do if there are no available witnesses to sign an advance directive?
If a notary is needed because witness signatures cannot be obtained, contact the Office of Patient Relations. The Office of Patient Relations will assist in the notary process for medical documents when certain criteria have been met. A notary is also needed for financial related documents.