Legal Services

Legal Services of Northern Virginia

Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV) serves individuals who without legal assistance will lose a critical need, such as food, shelter, income, medical care or personal safety. Some of the areas in which LSNV handles civil (non-criminal) cases are elder law, consumer law, employment law, family law, housing law and public benefits. LSNV does not handle fee generating, immigration or traffic cases.

LSNV staff members will see clients at the Arlington Department of Human Services or at one of their offices. For an appointment, contact the Arlington office of LSNV.

Advance Planning

It is important to plan ahead for healthcare decisions related to end of life care and medical decision-making. There are many options available including Advance Directives, Durable Do Not Resuscitate Orders and Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment.

Advanced Directive

An Advance Directive allows you to state your choices for healthcare or to name someone to make those choices for you, if you become unable to make decisions about your medical treatment. It enables you to say “yes” to treatment you want, or “no” to treatment you do not want. The Virginia State Bar provides additional information and Advance Directive forms that you can print and fill out. You should make copies and provide a copy to your doctor, bring one when you come to the hospital, and give copies to your family and friends. In Virginia you need two adult witnesses to sign your form. Five Wishes is an alternate version of an Advance Directive you might also consider.

Durable Do Not Resuscitate Order (DDNR)

A Durable Do Not Resuscitate Order (DDNR) means a written physician’s order issued to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation from a particular patient in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation includes cardiac compression, endotracheal intubation and other advanced airway management, artificial ventilation, defibrillation and related procedures. The form and information is available through the Virginia Department of Health. A physician must sign the form. Share the form with your doctors and family members and keep a copy posted in your home so emergency medical services staff can see it if they have to come to your home.

Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST)

A Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) form is a physician-signed order form which communicates and puts into action treatment preferences when a person is near the end of their life. Anyone dealing with a chronic progressive illness, who is frail and elderly or has a terminal illness should consider a POST form. As opposed to and Advanced Directive which states your wishes, a POST is a physician order that your wishes be followed. The Virginia POST Collaborative provides more information and the form your physician will need to sign.