PALLIATIVE CARE PLANNING IN CALIFORNIA
- posted: May 20, 2021
Palliative Care: Area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing suffering of patients. Aimed in optimizing quality of life and mitigating suffering among people with serous complex illnesses facing life threatening illnesses
Advance Health Care Directive: Enables individuals to make sure that their health care wishes are known in advance and considered if for any reason they are unable to speak for themselves. Advance directives also allow patients to appoint a health care "agent" who will have legal authority to make health care decisions in the event that they are incapacitated,
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment: (POLST): Is a successor to the widely used “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders. The POLST form, used for patients with a serious illness or whose life expectancy is a year or less, outlining a plan of care reflecting the patient’s wishes concerning medical treatment and interventions at life’s end. The POLST form complements an advance directive by turning a patient’s treatment preferences into actionable medical orders.
Disposal of Remains: In California the decedents can determine what they want regarding the disposal of their remains after death. Such as if they want to give their bodies to science, or be buried or cremated. Decedents can give the job of making final arrangements to any person but it must be done in writing. (California Health and Safety Codes § 7100 and §7100.1.) To avoid confusion, it’s best to make an advance healthcare directive and give your health care agent explicit permission to carry out your wishes.
Medical Records After Death: The Health and Safety Code sets up a list of priorities as to has the right to get access of these medical records. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123105(e); Cal. Probate Code § 24Cal. Probate Code § 58. The code states that A third party “beneficiary” has the right to access a deceased medical records. A beneficiary is defined as either someone to whom the deceased transferred land or property at death, had a right to property at death, or a legal heir. The executor or administrator of a deceased estate also has the right to access the resident’s medical records. This has become an important issue after the Covid Pandemic.
California’s End Of Life Option Act
California allows physicians to prescribe terminally ill patients medication to end their lives. ABX2-15, the "End of Life Option Act," permits terminally ill adult patients with capacity to make medical decisions to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication if certain conditions are met.