Now that all non-essential workers are required to shelter-in-place (really, they just mean “stay at home”), there are a couple of things you ought to look into.
Do you have an Advance Health Care Directive? Does everyone in your family have one in place?
Anyone incapacitated by COVID-19 or anything else for that matter needs one. The hard part, is how to get one if you don’t have an attorney or if your attorney is also staying at home.
The good news is that you can get one for free. If you type the phrase “California form AHCD” into Google or Bing, the very first link is a form Advance Health Care Directive written by the California Legislature and provided at no charge by the office of the California Attorney General.
Download the form. You can print it out, or even fill it out on your computer and then print it. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
Part 1 is where you name your health care agents. There’s space for three, but you can be more creative, just as “John Smith and/or Mary Smith, my son and daughter.”
Just make sure that the agents you select think the same way you do about life-sustaining treatment.
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In Part 2, you may elect either to have your life prolonged, or not prolonged, in the event you are going to pass away soon, or you won’t likely regain consciousness, or if continued medical treatment just doesn’t make sense.
Just remember that your physician may recommend withholding treatment, but won’t actually do it without your health care agent’s consent.
An Advance Health Care Directive is not a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.
You get one of those from your physician, on a pink form called a Physician’s Order for Life Sustaining Treatment, or POLST. If you have a DNR in place, that means you’ve already decided against life-sustaining treatment.
In Part 3, you may elect to donate organs upon your death.
In Part 4, you may provide information about your physician, but that’s also optional.
To execute the document, you have to sign it before a Notary Public, or two adult witnesses, one of whom must also sign an additional statement on the form stating they are neither related to you nor shall inherit anything upon your death.
Invite your neighbors over to sign with you on the front porch, after you and they wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
Once signed and witnessed, go wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
Len and Rosie
Len Tillem and Rosie McNichol are elder law attorneys. Contact them at 846 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476, by phone at 707-996-4505.
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