Advance directives protect your right to make medical choices that affect your life. An advance directive is a legal means of expressing your desires about healthcare decisions should you become unable to do so due to injury or illness.
An oral discussion of your treatment decisions made in the presence of your physician and one witness to indicate your treatment preferences. This discussion is then written in your medical record to communicate your wishes to the healthcare team.
If you choose not to prepare an advance directive, Maryland law recognizes the authority of a surrogate decision maker when necessary. A guardian (if one has been appointed by a court), spouse, adult child or parents of the patient (in that order) can make treatment decisions for you without specific court authorization in the event that you cannot make such decisions for yourself.
As a service to the community, Calvert Memorial Hospital offers a computerized registry for living wills and other advance directives. The registry records and stores your advance directives so they can be easily accessed at any time in the future, even from another hospital.
Hospital personnel can provide assistance and further information about preparing advance directives and storing them in the registry. The hospital can provide you with a standard form for completing your advance directives. From inside the hospital, call extension 8235. From outside the hospital, call 410-535-8235 or 301-855-1012, ext. 8235.
Hospice Care is available for terminally ill patients through Calvert Hospice at 410-535-0892.
The hospital's Ethics Committee can help patients and families with difficult decisions about healthcare. The committee can help you understand options for care and treatment, and give you advice based on experience and the wishes of the patient. Counsel from your clergyman is welcome. To contact the committee during weekday work hours, call ext. 8117 from inside the hospital or 410-535-8117 from outside the hospital. Evenings and weekends, ask your nurse to contact the hospital supervisor.