Category Archives: Health Care

Happy Health Care Decisions Day!

April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day.  While some of the seemingly fake holidays can make one roll their eyes, others, like Health Care Decisions Day (and Be Kind To Lawyers Day) are valuable reminders to pause and take care of important business.

We are all in charge of our own health care decisions while we are competent and able to communicate, but an accident or illness can render us unable to express our wishes or understand our condition. In those situations, another person needs legal authority to step in and communicate your wishes and make critical decisions for you.  You can nominate this person ahead of time to serve as your health care proxy by signing a document that has different names depending on your state. Massachusetts calls the document a health care proxy, others call it a health care power of attorney or advance directive.

Whatever it is called where you live, it is crucial that you sign one. It is equally as important that you talk to the person you are nominating to let them know what your wishes are in the event they need to step in and assist you. You can also write down your wishes for your proxy. This document is sometimes called a living will.

I always make sure to include health care decision planning with my client’s other work, but you can download a free advance directive from the South Shore Hospital website if you are in Massachusetts. If you are in a different state, visit the National Health Care Decisions Day website to find the form for your state.  There are lot of great resources there for documenting your wishes and talking to family members about health care decisions during a serious illness. (I put Five Wishes Living Wills in my siblings’ and parents’ stockings one Christmas. You will need to decide if that is the best way to go about things in your family…)

If you already have a health care proxy and document about your wishes, look it over  to make sure it is up to date and still reflects what you want. I will be doing the same!

P.S. If you are confused about the different terminology, click here to learn the difference between health care proxies, living wills, DNR, etc.,

What Legal Documents Do College Students Need?

Readying a child for college involves a lot of preparation. Trips to IKEA to furnish the dorm room, doctor visits for vaccinations and sports clearances, and a visit to your attorney to make sure your child has the necessary legal documents in place. If that last one had you saying “what?,” read on. Your 18Continue Reading

Traveling Without The Kids This Summer?

Are you taking a vacation without your children this summer, even a weekend away? Make sure you have the proper documents in place so that whoever is caring for your children has the authority to obtain medical care for them in an emergency. Also, make sure that you leave detailed instructions about their medical history,Continue Reading

New Medical Students Learning to Care for Aging Patients

The Boston Globe has an article today about medical schools focusing on the care of the elderly.   Some of the course work includes a focus on hip fractures, drug costs, and discussing end of life issues with their patients.  The new emphasis on aging is part of a wave of change sweeping medical schools nationwideContinue Reading

Stories of Harm – Health Care Quality Videos

My friend and former colleague Nicola Truppin of Health Navigator Partners sent me the link to the Health Care for All blog which has a recent post about people who were harmed while getting medical treatment at prominent Boston hospitals, either through misdiagnoses, medical errors or preventable infections.  There are 3 videos – each 3Continue Reading