Category: Healthcare Decisions

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College Students Need Their Medical Wishes Legally Protected Too

college students need medical wishes legally protectedMost parents don’t realize that their college aged students need their medical wishes protected too. Here’s some surprising news to most parents – when your child turns 18 they become legal adults. That’s right, they are no longer minors in the eyes of the law AND their parents are no longer legally in charge of them.

This means that if something awful happens to a college kid, (i.e., a bad car wreck, an accident on or off campus at a party, a trip to the hospital) and they cannot communicate for themselves, then there’s no one who is legally entitled to find out medical information, to make medical or legal decisions, to talk to insurance companies or to find out other information about them.

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Healthcare Proxies: Massachusetts Young Adults Need Their Medical Wishes to Be Legally Documented Too.

Here’s a tip for families of college students and college students themselves – if your college student is over the age of 18, then they are legal adults. That’s right, they are no longer minors in the eyes of the law AND their parents are no longer legally in charge of them.

This means that if something awful happens to a college kid, (i.e., a bad car wreck, an accident on or off campus at a party, a trip to the hospital) and they cannot communicate for themselves, then there’s no one who is legally entitled to find out medical information, to make medical or legal decisions, to talk to insurance companies or to find out other information about them.

Bottom line: if something happens to a college student, their family is shut out of the process and the only way to be able to make decisions is to go through the time and expense of the Probate Court.

Yet there’s a simple way to avoid this: put in place one of the most important legal documents that a young adult needs: a Healthcare Proxy. 
Far too many people assume that their families would make the choices they would want in an emergency. 
But it’s not enough for young adults to just tell their parents about their wishes.  Instead, they need to clearly document their preferences in legally executed documents. The truth is most young adults will need the help of a trusted person in medical or legal emergencies. But to do that, it is critical that they choose someone to make legal and medical decisions for them before they are ever caught in a position where they cannot.

National Healthcare Decisions Day is on April 16th and it’s an important reminder for every adult, young or old, to appoint someone to make medical decisions and possible end-of-life care choices. So in honor of National Health Care Decisions Day, we encourage all families with young adults to legally nominate someone to make difficult medical decisions for them when they are not able to.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about healthcare directives, talk to your attorney and get something in writing before an unforeseen emergency strikes. If you don’t have an attorney and would like to schedule a meeting with us, just fill out the “Contact Form” on our website.

This April 16th let your young adults’ voices be heard, even if they can’t speak for themselves.

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Healthcare Proxies – Let Someone Know Your Medical Wishes For National Healthcare Decisions Day

National Healthcare Decisions Day is on April 16th and it’s an important reminder for every adult to let someone know their most private wishes about medical treatments and possible end-of-life care.

Far too many people assume that their families would make the choices they would want in an emergency.  Yet everyday we hear stories of adult children, siblings or other relatives battling during a healthcare crisis over “what their loved one would have wanted” in that situation.

The Terry Shiavo case is a great example of this. At the young age of 26, Shiavo suffered sudden cardiac arrest and slipped into a permanent vegetative state.    She never documented her wishes about things like feeding tubes, life support and long-term quality of life, leaving her family to battle for years over these questions in court.

Her husband eventually had her feeding tube removed claiming, “That’s what she would have wanted.” But was it really? We’ll never know because Terry didn’t make her healthcare wishes known to her closest family and friends.

But it’s not enough to just tell someone about your wishes.  You need to clearly document your preferences too.  Remember, emotions can run high during a healthcare crisis and it might be hard for your loved ones to stop life support when they desperately want you around.  Having your wishes spelled out in writing helps make these types of decisions easier for your loved ones, especially in cases when other family members don’t agree.

So in honor of National Health Care Decisions Day, I encourage you to start tough conversations with loved ones about your personal medical preferences for medical or long-term care.  Here are some important questions to consider:

·      What are your thoughts on feeding tubes, life support and other artificial life saving devices?

·      Is there any type of medical care you would NEVER want?

·      If you were permanently disabled or incapacitated, what things would contribute or take away from your “quality of life”?

·     Who do you trust to make important medical decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself?

·     What are your thoughts on nursing home vs. in-home healthcare?  Who would you trust to manage your long-term care?

These are not the most fun conversations to have, but they will help to ensure that your most personal wishes are honored in a true medical emergency.  Talk them over with loved ones and get something in writing that spells out your wishes and the care you want if something happens to you.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about healthcare directives, talk to your attorney and get something in writing before an unforeseen emergency strikes. If you don’t have an attorney and would like to schedule a meeting with us, just fill out the “Contact Form” on our website.

This April 16th let your voice be heard, even if you can’t speak for yourself.