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Planning for Hospice Care

Hospice Planning in California

For many elderly individuals, the time eventually comes when the advanced state of their condition leaves their healthcare providers with few choices for treatment. Rather than undergoing risky procedures with slim chances of success, many individuals at the end of their lives opt instead to live out their remaining days with as much peace, dignity, and comfort as possible. This type of end-of-life care — known as hospice — is an attractive option for many but requires planning to go smoothly. Our California hospice planning attorney explains more below.

What Is Hospice?

Hospice is a type of specialized medical care that focuses on improving the quality of life for individuals experiencing end-of-life illness. It seeks to treat the symptoms of the patient’s condition rather than treating the condition itself (known as “palliative care”) so that the patient’s last days can be spent with relative dignity and comfort, surrounded by friends and family. Generally, hospice begins when a patient’s underlying condition, such as cancer, reaches a stage when treatment can no longer cure or control it — in most cases when the patient is expected to live six months or less.

Why You Should Have a Hospice Plan

Hospice care is less well-known than other types of medical care, and doctors don’t always bring it up when discussing treatment options with patients and their families until close to the very end of a patient’s life. Rather than waiting so long, it is a good idea to have a hospice plan in place before the patient’s illness progresses to its final stage. Putting a hospice plan into place early can have several benefits, including:

  • Reducing uncertainty and last-minute decisions
  • Making sure that the patient’s wishes are addressed while he or she maintains lucidity
  • Ensuring a smooth handoff between regular medical providers and hospice providers
  • Addressing financial concerns
  • Communicating end-of-life plans with family, friends, and other social support networks
  • Protecting the elderly person from any who would take advantage of the extremely vulnerable end of life stage

Please contact a California hospice planning attorney for more information about creating an individualized hospice plan for your loved one.

How a California Hospice Planning Attorney Can Help

End-of-life decisions can be challenging and highly emotional. The last thing grieving family members want to do is get bogged down in financial matters with their loved ones during their final days. This is where an estate planning or elder care attorney can help. While hiring an attorney to develop a hospice plan is not strictly necessary, an elder care attorney can be beneficial, especially regarding estate planning matters. When creating a hospice plan, an attorney can assist with:

  • Estate planning: End-of-life decisions should always include an estate plan that will dispose of the patient’s assets when the patient passes away. This can be in the form of both wills and trusts executed by the patient before he or she reaches hospice care and safe from manipulation by anyone who might take advantage of them during their final months.
  • Living wills and advanced health care directives: A living will drafted in advance can specify what kind of treatment the patient wants and does not want, including hospice care, which can serve as a guide if the patient becomes incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for himself or herself.
  • Power of attorney: Similar to a living will, a power of attorney document designates a particular individual who is authorized to make medical decisions on the patient’s behalf in the event that the patient becomes incapacitated. This should never, ever be a caregiver, but someone the patient has known and trusted for a long time, usually a member of one’s family.

Letting an attorney assist you in drafting a hospice plan can minimize confusion in the future and ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out effectively.

Contact a California Hospice Planning Attorney for More Information

For more information about hospice planning, please contact a California hospice planning attorney at the Evans Law Firm by using our online form or calling us at 415-441-8669.

 

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