Advance Care Planning

One of the most thoughtful and appreciated gifts that one can do for their family is advance care planning. These are documents that indicate one’s wishes if they were to become seriously ill and not able to speak for themselves to drive the decision making process.

Advance directives include:

  • Durable power of attorney - A legal document that indicates the individual or individuals that are to make decisions if you are not able to do so yourself.
  • Durable power of attorney for health care - This is the person or person designated to make medical decisions in the circumstances that someone is unable to do so themselves. For example, if someone is seriously ill and unconscious, this document lets the medical team know who to talk to to participate in medical decision making.
  • Durable power of attorney for finances - This is a separate document that authorizes another person to take care of your finances if you are unable to do so. This person would be able access financial institutions, pay bills and pay for needed medical care.
  • Living Will - This is a document that allows you to document what your wishes would be in certain circumstances if you were unable to make medical decisions for yourself. It is useful as a guide for the durable power of attorney for health care to refer to when making medical decisions on your behalf. These documents come in many forms and often include areas to write personalized directives. There are limitations to these directives as the circumstances in reality are often much more complicated than can be anticipated when completing these directives. They are, however, a helpful document to be used as a reference for the medical care team to understand basic wishes.
  • Maryland Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) - A portable and enduring medical order that covers options for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other life-sustaining treatments. The Maryland MOLST form includes that patient’s preference for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intubation, tube feeding and other interventions. This form can be filled out by the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions if the patient hasn’t filled it out them self.

Adults (ages 18 or older) who are mentally competent have the right to make healthcare decisions in advance. For your convenience, we have included this form to complete your Advance Directive.

For more information or to reach out to our staff directly, please contact our offices by calling (240) 566-3030.

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