Reconnect with clients and engage prospects during NHDD!

By: Michael Wall

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is next week! Initially conceived as a day to raise awareness of the importance of advance care planning, NHDD has blossomed to a full week: April 16-22. NHDD organizers developed daily themes to guide participants through the week. Randi Siegel's guest blog post for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys adapts those themes for your practice so you can start the conversation in your personal life, reconnect with clients, and engage prospects.

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April 13, 2018 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Can you turn your body into a legal document?

By: Michael Wall

"Do Not Resuscitate" joins barbed wire, anyone’s name you’re dating, and a self-portrait on the list of things you should think twice about getting tattooed on your body. It's easy to see why a DNR tattoo is an appealing idea. A tattoo ensures that the DNR statement is quite literally always on your person, doctors would see the tattoo before performing CPR, and anyone that takes the time to get a tattoo must be sincere about their wishes.

But, a recent case involving a Florida man with such a tattoo illustrates the flaws with this idea. You can read Randi Siegel’s recent guest blog post on the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys blog to read about the confusion this tattoo caused and some lessons that can be gleaned from this case.

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December 13, 2017 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(2)

ER doctors can't find advance directives in electronic health records!

By: Michael Wall

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) fail to provide access to most patients’ advance directives in the ER according to two recently published studies in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. Most hospitals have switched over to computerized systems, but the data shows those systems do an abysmal job of making your clients’ advance directives accessible to doctors.

The first study looked at patients over 65 and found that 59% completed an advance directive, but the ER staff could only locate the advance directive for 13% in the EHR. That means that the ER failed to obtain the advance directive for more than ¾ of the patients that completed one.

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February 9, 2017 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Computerized records don’t make clients’ advance directives available

By: Michael Wall

Electronic medical records are not the answer to making clients’ advance directives easily available at a hospital when they’re needed, according to a recent news report. Contrary to what we all might assume, most physicians cannot get their patients’ advance directives easily—if at all—through electronic health records (EHRs).

In a USA Today article, Kaiser Health News uncovered a surprising set of technical problems that stand in the way. 

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April 28, 2016 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Important medicare policy change for your clients and your firm

By: Randi Siegel

Beginning in 2016, Medicare will pay doctors to have conversations with their patients about their advance care planning. This change opens the door for you to work more directly with your clients’ doctors -- good news for your clients and your practice. We thought you might appreciate a summary of this new Medicare benefit so that you can help your clients, and also make the most of this new opportunity.

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April 1, 2016 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

ER docs LOVE advance directives: Marketing opportunity

By: Randi Siegel

My guest blog post this month for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys is about just how badly ER doctors want their patients to have easily accessible advance directives, according to a recent study. Read the full article here.

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January 14, 2016 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

From ESPN to Dr. House: A selection of Randi Siegel's articles on end-of-life issues

By: Randi Siegel

Please check out a selection of my blog posts for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys from earlier this year that we haven’t posted here previously.

February's post, Not Too Macho for Meaning: A Sports Anchor Shares Lessons About Life, calls attention to Stuart Scott’s acceptance speech at the ESPYs before his untimely death a few months later after a long battle with cancer.

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November 16, 2015 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

ER doctors want you to have an advance directive!

By: Randi Siegel

ER doctors want you to have an advance directive!  

A recent survey of emergency medicine physicians has found that 85% believe having an advance directive helps ensure better quality patient care. And 88% felt that patients’ families were more comfortable with how doctors cared for their loved ones when there was an advance directive on file.

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November 12, 2015 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

What can Tom Brokaw teach us about advance directives?

By: Randi Siegel

My monthly guest blog post for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys was just published! This month’s article is Do Your Clients Have the Same Problems as Tom Brokaw? Working off of a 2012 TED Talk between Brokaw and his daughter, Dr. Jennifer Brokaw, about advance care planning, it lays out the steps to take once an advance directive has been created to ensure its effectiveness – where to store it and who to tell about it. You can read the article on the Academy blog.

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June 15, 2015 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Ask Yourself Important Questions this National Healthcare Decisions Day

By: Randi Siegel

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day!

This a day to ask yourself a few very important questions:

  • Do you have advance directives (healthcare power of attorney, living will, HIPAA) yet?
  • Have you spoken with your appointed healthcare surrogate about your care wishes and goals should you be unable to make decisions for yourself?
  • Do they and other loved ones know where you keep your directives?
  • Do you have an older relative or loved one who has not yet had this conversation with you?

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April 16, 2015 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

New Facebook feature lets users assign a digital heir

By: Michael Wall

Facebook has introduced a new feature that gives its users more control over their Facebook pages after they pass away. Users can now designate a “legacy contact” to manage their account. The legacy contact must be an existing Facebook user, and they’ll be able to add a post to the top of the page to memorialize the person, change their profile picture, and accept new friend requests. 

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February 18, 2015 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Medical Decision-making Controversies Your Clients May Be Talking About

By: Randi Siegel

My monthly guest blog post for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys was just published! This month’s article is Medical Decision-making Controversies Your Clients May Be Talking About. It focuses on the controversial article written by Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D., entitled Why I Hope to Die at 75. You can read the article on the Academy blog.

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November 13, 2014 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Wisconsin Public Radio Airing 5-part Series on Death

By: Randi Siegel

Over the next few weeks, Wisconsin Public Radio, a branch of NPR, will be hosting a five-part series on death on their program, To the Best of Our Knowledge. Each part will focus on one aspect of how Americans deal with death.

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November 10, 2014 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Delaware Law Provides Access to Digital Assets to Legal Executors

By: Randi Siegel

In addition to appointing a health care agent to take care of medical needs and an executor to take care of affairs after they're gone, citizens of Delaware can now also appoint a digital executor -- to look after their digital assets such as online bank accounts, social media accounts and email accounts.

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August 25, 2014 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

AMA Recommends Paying Doctors for End-of Life Conversations

By: Randi Siegel

The idea of Medicare payment for advance care planning is not new, but past efforts to put such programs into place have been stymied (think “death panels”). A new proposal from the AMA may change that, recommending that doctors who take the time to discuss end-of-life care with their patients be paid for their efforts.

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June 6, 2014 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

New Study Analyzes How End-of-Life Choices Change Over Time

By: Randi Siegel

A new study about end-of-life choices has some interesting things to say about how people’s wishes change (or don’t) over time. Most people’s preferences seem to stay the same over the years.  But -- the groups most likely to change were those who were healthy when they first made their preferences known, and those who originally wanted more intensive care. You can read more about the study at JAMA Internal Medicine

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June 4, 2014 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Furry Friends Help Patients Feel Better

By: Tiffany Brown

According to a recent article on USAToday.com, more hospitals are expanding hospital visitation to include canines.

Therapy dogs have been helping patients for years. 

“Research has shown that therapy dogs can have measurable health benefits in patients. In a 2007 study, 76 adults with advanced heart failure received either a 12-minute visit from a volunteer with a therapy dog, a 12-minute visit from a volunteer only or 12 minutes of their usual care.

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July 16, 2013 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Reimbursement for Advance Care Planning Proposed in U.S. Congress

By: Randi Siegel

The bipartisan advance care planning bill just introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would provide reimbursement for periodic advance care planning under Medicare and Medicaid.Specifically, The Personalize Your Care Act would cover reimbursement for voluntary consultations with patients about advance care planning and end of life care every 5 years or upon a change in the patient’s health status. Proposed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer with bipartisan cosponsors on March 14, 2013, the bill would also help states establish or expand their programs for Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) and help ensure that electronic medical records can display patients’ advance directives and POLST documents.

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March 17, 2013 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Assisted Suicide Legislation on the Rise

By: Tiffany Brown

A recent AP article reports that 6 states (maybe yours) now have bills to legalize physician-assisted suicide working their way through the legislative process. 

The article does not take a position on what can be a very volatile subject, but rather focuses on the impetus for these legislative developments and touches on the 3 states in which assisted suicide is already legal.   

With all of this pending legislation, there are a number of articles on this topic recently, including some in the Wall Street Journal. You can find links to the WSJ pieces here. To learn more about the illegal or legal status of assisted suicide in your state (as of Dec. 2012), see pro/con.org.

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March 12, 2013 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Death Cafes Raise Awareness of End-of-Life Topics

By: Michael Wall

Sipping on a cup of Joe makes talking about about anything in life easier, including death. That's the idea behind Death Cafes: candid discussions about death that are being held at coffee shops and other locations around the world.

The conversations are usually organized and facilitated by an expert in the field, such as Lizzy Miles, a hospice volunteer and social worker who organizes Death Cafes around Columbus, OH.  "The goal is to raise death awareness with the view of helping people make the most of their lives," said Miles.

 

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March 8, 2013 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

Health Journalist's Firsthand Encounter with End-of-Life Decisions

By: Randi Siegel

In "How Mom's Death Changed My Thinking About End-of-Life Care," journalist Charles Ornstein thoughtfully presents how his personal experience with the uncertainties of medical diagnosis, treatment, futility, end-of-life decisions for his mother differed from his objective, clearer views on these subjects as a veteran health-care reporter. He candidly shares his new-found appreciation for the intense difficulty of figuring out  how to apply her general wishes to her specific medical situation -- about whether to try treatments and/or when to stop trying.  He also shares insights about the role of hope and a new understanding of "how little the costs to t he broader health-care system matter to the family of a patient."  Mr. Ornstein is also current board president of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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March 1, 2013 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)

The Conversation Project

By: Tiffany Brown

The Conversation Project has some great tools to help anyone -- including clients -- start the difficult talk with loved ones about end-of-life care wishes. The free Starter Kit gently coaches people on how to have this conversation. And its short worksheets help people think in simple, non-medical terms about their goals at the end of life and for living with advanced illness.

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January 31, 2013 | Advance Care Planning News | Comments(0)