An Advance Directive for Nursing Home Negligence Cases

Having a properly executed advance directive is absolutely critical in nursing home negligence cases.

What is an advance directive?
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to explain your decisions about medical care. If you are unable to make decisions or communicate in the future, this makes it easier for your loved ones and health care providers to understand your wishes.

What is the difference between an advance directive and guardianship?
Both of these legal tools help others make decisions regarding your medical care if you are unable to make them. However, an advance directive is appointed by you while you are still fully capable. Guardianship, on the other hand, is appointed by the court, after you have already become incapable of making decisions.

Please know that the medical facility has a right to charge you for accessing the medical records.

Why is it important to have an advance directive in a case of nursing home neglect?
In a nursing home negligence case, you need medical records to show the harm that the negligence caused. You have a right to the medical records; but you need legal authority in order to access them. The advance directive gives you this legal authority.

How do I get a properly executed advance directive?
The term “advance directive” is often used synonymously with the term “living will” or “durable power of attorney for health care.” In Maryland, the advance directive normally contains both the health care agent powers and the living will (i.e. end of life decisions). However, it is also not unusual for there to be a separate durable power of attorney for health care and a living will.

To make things more confusing, sometimes the financial power of attorney will have health care agent rights in it as well. There are strict requirements regarding execution of an advance directive in Maryland. It’s important to know the specific requirements of these legal documents. It is also important to know if the documents you already have will be sufficient to get the necessary legal documents.

Our Attorneys Help with Advance Directives
If you don’t have an advance directive, we can help. As elder law specialists in Maryland, we can navigate your family through whatever crisis you might be experiencing. If you think your family member isn’t being treated well at the nursing home, then let’s sit down and talk about it. Give us a call at (410) 296-8166 x292.