Advance Health Care Directives

Friday, September 25, 2015

Unbefriended: When you Outlive Your Family and Friends

The New York Times has been running an excellent series by columnist Paula Span called "The New Old Age." In a recent piece, Paula wrote about the "unbefriended" (and the term doesn't have anything to do with Facebook). We thought this was an informative article to share on the importance of Advance Health Care Directives. Read on!

Near the End, It's Best to Be 'Friended'

The unconscious man in his 90s was brought to an emergency room where Dr. Douglas White was a critical care physician. The staff couldn’t find any relatives to make medical decisions on his behalf.

“He had outlived all his family,” recalled Dr. White, who now directs an ethics program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “We were unable to locate any friends. We even sent the police to knock on his neighbors’ doors.”

Nobody could find an advance directive, either. In the end, the hospital’s ethics committee had to help guide the medical team to decisions about continuing life support.

Experts describe patients like this one as “unbefriended.” But you can also be unbefriended, even if you do have friends and family, if you are incapacitated and haven’t appointed someone you trust as a health care proxy.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Get A Leg Up On Tom Brokaw

Did you happen to see the TED Talk in which Tom Brokaw had a conversation with his daughter, Jennifer? During the talk, Tom admitted that unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about my living will. In factI’m not even sure where it is at this point.”

You can click here to watch the video. I set up the link to jump right to the spot, but I encourage you to watch the entire video. It’s only about 20 minutes long and well worth the time.

It’s always nice to see that celebrities are real people with real problems, and Tom’s case raises a few important questions.

  • Does your living will still reflect your wishes? There are many reasons why you may want to update your living will and/or healthcare power of attorney: Has your relationship with your family changed? Is your agent still able and willing to act on your behalf? Has your health changed? Have your beliefs changed? Have you moved? 

  • Have you discussed your wishes with your family? What you want and don't want?

  • Do you know where you living will is? Tom Brokaw admits he doesn’t know where his living will is. This is a common problem, which is why we encourage our clients  to sign up for DocuBank. A DocuBank Emergency Card lets you and your doctor access your living will & other emergency info immediately when needed. It’s like you have your documents right in your pocket!

We want to make sure that you stay ahead of Tom Brokaw!  It’s important that your living will and advance directives reflect your true wishes, and that you and your family know where they are and can access them when they’re needed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Caregiving Changes Focus of Practice for Britton Garon

How does a new lawyer poised to begin a career in criminal prosecution make the change to Elder Law? Providing end-of-life care for her mother and grandmother changed Maine Center for Elder Law attorney Britton Garon's focus. "I very clearly realized that I wanted to help people prevent all of the devastating things that can happen during an illness or at the end of life."  

Personal Experience Leads to Career in Elder Law

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Town Where Everyone Talks about Death

La Crosse, Wisconsin spends less on health care for patients at the end of life than any other place in the country, according to the Dartmouth Health Atlas.

Reducing costs wasn't the reason La Crosse has its advance directive program. Bud Hammes was trying to help their patients, and the reduction in spending was an accident. But now, lots of other communities want to copy the La Crosse program.

Full story:

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The Maine Center for Elder Law, LLC, assists clients with Medicaid (MaineCare) Planning, Planning for VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning, and Probate, Estate & Trust Administration matters in York County, Cumberland County and nearby Maine counties.

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