Advance Medical Directives for Maryland Residents
What You Should Know About Advance Directives
Everyone has the right to make personal decisions about health care. Doctors ask whether you will accept a treatment by discussing the risks and benefits and working with you to decide. But what if you can no longer make your own decisions? Anyone can wind up hurt or sick and unable to make decisions about medical treatments. An advance directive speaks for you if you are unable to, and helps make sure your religious and personal beliefs will be respected. It's a useful legal document for an adult of any age to plan for future health care needs. While no one is required to have an advance directive, it's smart to think ahead and make a plan now. If you don't have an advance directive—and later you can't speak for yourself—usually your next of kin will then make health care decisions for you. But even if you want your next of kin to make decisions for you, an advance directive can make things easier for your loved ones by helping to prevent misunderstandings or arguments about your care.
Use these links to download an advance directive form and instructions from the Maryland state Attorney General's office. https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/HealthPolicy/AdvanceDirectives.aspx.
The form may now be filled out on your computer and printed. You can use it to make health care choices. If you prefer, we can mail you one copy. Email your request for a printed copy to email@example.com, call 410-576-7000, or write to the Office of the Attorney General, Health Decisions Policy Division, 300 W. Preston Street, 3rd floor, Baltimore, MD 21201. This is a free service, limited to one copy only; however, you are welcome to make as many copies yourself as you want.
This form is optional. No one is required to fill it out, and other forms may be used and are just as valid legally. For example, a widely praised form called "Five Wishes" is available (for a small fee) from the non-profit organization Aging With Dignity. Advance directives from a variety of religious perspectives are available here.
You can also download a printer-friendly version of Maryland's “Advance Directive Information Sheet." Click here to download a PDF copy of the information sheet.
To obtain information about a Physician's Order form that allows emergency medical personnel to provide comfort care instead of aggressive interventions (a MOLST or “EMS/DNR Order"), call the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems at 410-706-4367. You can also download the form from marylandmolst.org.
The Maryland Department of Health makes available an advance directive focused on preferences about mental health treatment. Click here for a copy of the Advance Directive for Mental Health Treatment.
If you've made an advance directive, you should consider carrying a wallet card saying so. The Office of the Attorney General has developed a wallet card for your use. This card alerts healthcare workers that you have an advance directive and provides contact names and numbers. Simply print, then fill out the card and carry it in your wallet (click here for a printer-friendly version of the card).
As a public service, the American Hospital Association also makes a wallet card available through their website. Click here to download a copy of the AHA's “Put It in Writing" wallet card.