Additional Hospital Services | MedStar Montgomery Medical Center | MedStar Health

Patient self-determination rights

The purpose of this information is to inform you about your right to make decisions concerning your medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical and surgical treatment, and to prepare advance directives.

If you are a competent adult (a person who is 18 years or older) or an emancipated minor (a minor who is married or the parent of a child), you have the right to accept or reject medical/surgical treatment. This right exists as long as you have a sufficient understanding to make and communicate responsible decisions about your medical/surgical treatment. MedStar Montgomery Medical Center respects the importance of this right and is committed to ensuring that its patients have the opportunity to exercise this right in an informed, considered way.

How you may make medical/surgical treatment decisions

You may communicate decisions concerning medical/surgical treatment in the following ways:

  • Discussions between you and your physician during which you can express to your physician your preferences regarding treatment in various situations

  • Written consents, which you have the option to sign or not to sign, after consultation with your physician

  • Advance directives including treatment preferences; appointment of a Healthcare Agent and Healthcare Instructions, which will be discussed shortly

Maryland Law regarding medical/surgical treatment decisions

Under the law of the State of Maryland, an individual who is able to make and communicate responsible healthcare decisions generally has the right to decide whether to accept or to reject medical/ surgical treatment. On occasion, a person may lack the ability to make medical treatment decisions for him or herself. Maryland law recognizes that, as long as you are able to make such decisions, you may give instructions concerning your future medical care and treatment, including decisions about treatments to sustain life.

Explaining advance directives generally

Advance directives allow you to retain control over the medical treatment to be received if and when you become unable to make or communicate healthcare decisions at some point in the future. Advance directives are important to ensuring that your wishes will be respected in the future. The fact that advance directives take into consideration matters relating to life-sustaining treatment should not be cause for alarm. Like other healthcare decisions, the choice of whether to sign an advance directive is up to each individual.

An advance directive can be changed or revoked at any time. In no way does MedStar Montgomery Medical Center condition the provision of care, or otherwise discriminate against anyone, based on whether or not an advance directive has been executed. You should not feel any pressure to sign an advance directive.

Appointment of a healthcare agent

An appointment of a healthcare agent is looked to if and when you are no longer able to make or communicate healthcare decisions, whatever your condition. The appointment of a Healthcare Agent allows you to name another person, usually a family member or someone close, to make medical decisions if you become unable to make them for yourself.

Treatment preferences (living will)

Treatment preferences contain, at minimum, written instructions that state your wishes about the use of life-sustaining measures, should you be unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself, and are suffering from a terminal condition, are in a persistent vegetative state, or have an end-stage condition.

If you decide to have advance directives, it is generally most useful to appoint a Healthcare Agent and prepare a treatment preference form.

Additional general information

If you decide to complete any of these advance directives, please be certain to sign and date each document and have it witnessed by two individuals. Your Healthcare Agent may not act as a witness and at least one witness should not have any direct involvement in matters related to your financial affairs or your estate. You should advise family, friends, and advisors where they may locate copies of any advance directive that you sign.

Please bring a copy of each executed advance directive with you if you are being hospitalized. A copy of your advance directives will become a part of your medical record so that those involved with your care will be aware of your wishes.

The information provided here is a general summary of your rights to make medical treatment decisions in Maryland and is disseminated by MedStar Montgomery Medical Center pursuant to the Federal Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990 and the Maryland Healthcare Decision Act of 1993. Specific questions concerning legal rights or options should be addressed to your attorney and/ or physician.

Gifts of organs and tissues can help sustain or improve the quality of life for many persons. In compliance with the requirements of federal and state law, we will ask if you have designated organs and/ or tissues for donation. Please inform the admissions counselor if you have made such arrangements or wish to do so.

Learn more about advance directives

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Spiritual care

As a coordinated care facility dedicated to patient comfort and satisfaction, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center's Pastoral Care Program provides a 24-hour chaplain service to patients of all faith/traditions. Pastoral care can provide sacramental and spiritual services as well as special decedent affairs services.

We also have a chapel located on the 2nd floor of the hospital above the lobby (this will be moving to our newly renovated 1st floor in December). It is open for prayer and private meditation. Special services are also available.

To seek Pastoral Care services, please call 301-774-8884.

Patient/family advisory council

Partnering with our patients

  • Have you or a family member been a patient at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in the last two years?

  • Would you like to become an active partner with the hospital to share your experience and provide ideas and insight for care in the future?

  • Can you dedicate two hours per month to the hospital to improve the patient/family experience?

If you have answered yes to the questions above, we invite you to join in a partnership with MedStar Montgomery to share your important perspectives in helping us improve the patient experience.

What is the Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety?

The Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety is a partnership between the community and the hospital, sharing the voice of the patient and their families to improve healthcare quality and safety.

Should you join the council?

  • Do you listen well and respect various points of view?

  • Will you see beyond your own personal experiences?

  • Do you speak comfortably in a group?

Member responsibilities

The council meets one time a month for a 90-minute period. While the responsibilities will vary based on the overall needs of the council, made up of past patients, families, and patient caregivers, responsibilities will include:

  • Share information, ideas, and concerns from your perspective to hospital administration and staff

  • Assist in establishing priorities related to patient and family needs to create programs that improve quality and safety

  • Function as a representative of our patients and their families

  • Serve as a liaison between MedStar Montgomery and our community

If you would like more information, contact a council representative at 301-570-7401.

Patient/family advisory council application

If you are interested in joining the council, please complete the online application below. Once your application has been received by the hospital you will be asked to complete an interview with staff members and provide information as required for all hospital volunteers.

Patient family advisory application

Explore the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center complies with the provision of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and provides care and services to all patients and clients without regard to race, color, national origin, or physical or mental handicap.

Community council members

  • Jeanne O'Toole
    Jeanne O’Toole

    Council Chair

Hospital Representatives

  • Diana Saldani
    Diana Saladini

    Director, Population Health, PFAC Lead

Oncology Patient and Family Advisory Council

Ensuring Patient-Centered Care

Today, thanks to the many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer that have occurred in recent years, more and more individuals are surviving cancer and going on to live long fulfilling lives. Understanding and responding to the patient experience throughout the cancer journey is critical to this. At MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, we are committed to providing each patient with the most comprehensive and compassionate care possible every step of the way.Patient-centered care requires empowering patients by giving them a voice when it comes to healthcare design and delivery.  To ensure that we are addressing the needs and preferences of patients, we established an Oncology Patient and Family Advisory Council to provide us with valuable feedback on issues affecting the care of cancer patients.  

Our Mission

The Oncology Patient and Family Advisory Council brings together cancer survivors, caregivers, physicians, nurses, and support staff for the purpose of advancing the MedStar Montgomery Medical Center Cancer Program’s understanding and commitment to the delivery of quality cancer care.

The council: 

  • Serves as a voice for patients.
  • Promotes patient/family advocacy and involvement in the care and treatment process.
  • Enhances the patient and family experience.
  • Provides input for the planning of new patient-related programs.
  • Serves as a resource on a wide variety of issues, services and policies.


The Oncology Patient and Family Advisory Council meets monthly and reports directly to the MedStar Montgomery Cancer Committee, offering direct feedback and suggestions for improvements to the care of cancer patients at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.

How to Get Involved

Council members commit to a one-year term with an option to remain on the council for an additional year. Terms begin in January. If you are interested in serving on the council or would like more information, contact: 
Debra Otani, RN, OCN, CBCN
Cancer Care Navigator
MedStar Montgomery Medical Center
18101 Prince Philip Drive, Room G-23
Olney, MD 20832
Phone: 301-774-8693


Partnering for patient safety and quality

The Patient & Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety (PFACQS) is a collaborative effort between MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and members of the community. It brings hospital and community representatives together for discussion about programs and services that are currently in place, new, evolving, or planned for the future, and provides guidance to hospital leaders as they make decisions to improve patient care, experience, and satisfaction.

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