The Patient Self-Determination Act, a federal law, and The Healthcare Decision Act, a Maryland law, provide that you have the right to make healthcare decisions in advance through a document called an "Advance Directive For Healthcare." There are two types of written directives regarding future healthcare decisions.

An Advance Directive For Healthcare allows you to give healthcare instructions and appoint a healthcare agent to carry out these healthcare instructions should you become incapable of expressing your own wishes. You can make decisions about the future use of life-sustaining procedures in the event you have a terminal condition, if you are in a persistent vegetative state or if you have an end-stage condition. In addition, you may choose to use an Advance Directive to make other healthcare decisions. 

A Living Will allows you to make decisions about life-sustaining procedures if, in the future, your death from a terminal condition is imminent despite the application of lifesustaining procedures. A Living Will will not allow you to make decisions about future life-sustaining procedures in the event you have an end-stage condition or you are in a persistent vegetative state.

To honor your wishes as set forth in your Advance Directive For Healthcare or Living Will, a copy of the document must be placed in your medical record. We encourage all patients to take an active role in directing the course of your medical treatment decisions.

If you would like more information regarding an Advance Directive For Healthcare, please contact the Pastoral Care Department at 410-543-7157 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. At all other times, dial “0” and ask for the on-call chaplain.