Helping Your Clients or Patients Deal with Decisions About Medical Care

Many professionals (attorneys, care managers, social workers, doctors, nurses, etc.) help their clients or patients plan ahead to deal with decisions about medical care. Often this involves preparation of a Power of Attorney for Health Care(“PAHC”) by the client or patient (as principal under the PAHC). (We refer to both clients and patients as “clients” in the remainder of this article).

Three Important Tasks

When you help a client prepare and execute a PAHC, you have three important tasks.

  • Help the client select an appropriate agent (or agents). Many clients, with guidance, can make the selection without major difficulty.
  • Help the client determine his medical care desires. At times, this can be difficult. The client may be unfamiliar with medical care decision-making, the client’s right to decide, and different types of available medical treatment. The client may not have thought about (or may not want to think about) his desires.
  • Help the client communicate his desires to the agent(s), so that the agent(s) will be in a position to make decisions for the client.This communication task, which calls for sending an accurate message which will be received by the agent(s), can be challenging. Because the statement of desires received must also be understood by the agent(s) — note that you may never have the opportunity to meet the agent(s) — the statement of desires must be as clear and simple as possible.

The Two-Document Approach

To help the client determine his desires and communicate them to the agent(s), we suggest a two-document approach. This approach supplements the PAHC (whether an attorney-drafted document, or a California Medical Association or other form) with a separate document. We have created Your Way as such a separate document.

We suggest that the PAHC not contain the client’s statement of medical care desires. Instead, the client determines and states his desires in Your Way. He communicates the desires by reviewing Your Way with the agent(s).

The two-document approach conforms to California’s health care decisions law, which contemplates that the principal will communicate outside the PAHC (see Probate Code §4684). Some states, however, require that particular desires be stated within the PAHC. Check the law in your state.

About Your Way

Your Way is printed in pamphlet form (a 16-page two-sided book). It uses simplified language. Your Way provides nine different Topics or exercises, to help the client consider and express feelings. Your Way is set up to be useable even if the client is in poor health. The client may complete all or any portion of Your Way.

Your Way is copyrighted, and distributed by H.E.L.P., a California non-profit organization.

You can preview Your Way  in graphic image format.

Obtaining Your Way

For information on obtaining copies of Your Way, click here.

 

Helping Your Clients or Patients Deal with Decisions About Medical Care

Many professionals (attorneys, care managers, social workers, doctors, nurses, etc.) help their clients or patients plan ahead to deal with decisions about medical care. Often this involves preparation of a Power of Attorney for Health Care(“PAHC”) by the client or patient (as principal under the PAHC). (We refer to both clients and patients as “clients” in the remainder of this article).

Three Important Tasks

When you help a client prepare and execute a PAHC, you have three important tasks.

  • Help the client select an appropriate agent (or agents). Many clients, with guidance, can make the selection without major difficulty.
  • Help the client determine his medical care desires. At times, this can be difficult. The client may be unfamiliar with medical care decision-making, the client’s right to decide, and different types of available medical treatment. The client may not have thought about (or may not want to think about) his desires.
  • Help the client communicate his desires to the agent(s), so that the agent(s) will be in a position to make decisions for the client.This communication task, which calls for sending an accurate message which will be received by the agent(s), can be challenging. Because the statement of desires received must also be understood by the agent(s) — note that you may never have the opportunity to meet the agent(s) — the statement of desires must be as clear and simple as possible.

The Two-Document Approach

To help the client determine his desires and communicate them to the agent(s), we suggest a two-document approach. This approach supplements the PAHC (whether an attorney-drafted document, or a California Medical Association or other form) with a separate document. We have created Your Way as such a separate document.

We suggest that the PAHC not contain the client’s statement of medical care desires. Instead, the client determines and states his desires in Your Way. He communicates the desires by reviewing Your Way with the agent(s).

The two-document approach conforms to California’s health care decisions law, which contemplates that the principal will communicate outside the PAHC (see Probate Code §4684). Some states, however, require that particular desires be stated within the PAHC. Check the law in your state.

About Your Way

Your Way is printed in pamphlet form (a 16-page two-sided book). It uses simplified language. Your Way provides nine different Topics or exercises, to help the client consider and express feelings. Your Way is set up to be useable even if the client is in poor health. The client may complete all or any portion of Your Way.

Your Way is copyrighted, and distributed by H.E.L.P., a California non-profit organization.

You can preview Your Way  in graphic image format.

Obtaining Your Way

For information on obtaining copies of Your Way, click here.