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Consider Your Legal and Patients Rights

Your rights and freedoms to make health care decisions and direct your care are at the very heart of the Honoring Choices structured approach to health care planning. Here's information you may find useful to consider as you make care decisions. This is not legal advice but offered here as information; if you have a legal issue please consult a private attorney.

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Top 5 Rights of Competent Adults

It's Your Health Care. It's Your Choice. Here's the Top 5 list of basic rights to make your own health care choices, to write down your choices in Massachusetts planning documents, and have your choices honored all through your life.

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Decision-Making Authority of a Health Care Agent

Care providers, from physicians to care managers, often ask about the scope of an Agent's power and how Agents go about making health care decisions on behalf of another person.  Rebecca J. Benson provides a clear and concise look at the role and responsibility of an Agent, and the Agent's decision-making authority according to the Massachusetts Health Care Proxy statute. A must read for all care providers.

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Rebecca J. Benson. Of Counsel, Margolis & Bloom, LLP

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It’s Your Money: What’s Your Back-Up Plan?

It’s your money and you have the right to make all financial decisions about how to use it. This is true as long as you have the mental ability to take care of your finances. What is also true is that anyone of us may need help managing our finances, or become unexpectedly incapacitated because of an illness or a sudden accident. That’s why it is important to have a back-up plan in which you choose a person(s) to help with your financial affairs and give instructions on how you want your finances to be managed, including arranging and paying for long term care. Attorney Elizabeth Baum offers some options to consider in making a personal back-up plan.

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Contributed by Elizabeth Baum, J.D., M.P.H., The Law Office of Elizabeth Baum, PC

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The Role of A Guardian

"When do you need a Guardian and what does a Guardian do?"

"What's the difference between a Guardian and a Health Care Agent?"

These are questions that are often asked when a loved one has some challenges with making effective decisions about their health care, safety and well-being. Attorney Sarah Peterson addresses these questions and helps to explore the role of a guardian in protecting the rights and autonomy of an adult and in helping to provide for needed services and care.

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Sarah W. Peterson, Esq., Zalkin Law Firm, PC

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Making a Health Care Plan

Every adult who is competent and 18 years old or older can make a personal health care plan. Attorney Benson provides information on your right to make a personal plan and essential Massachusetts planning documents.

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Rights of a Nursing Home Resident

Moving into a long-term care residence can have a significant effect on an individual’s personal rights. Attorney Benson provides helpful information on “taking your rights and freedoms with you.”

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Rebecca J. Benson is Of Counsel to Margolis & Bloom, LLP

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Health Care Planning for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Every individual at 18 years old is legally emancipated and recognized by the law as capable and competent to make his/her own decisions. Attorney Kopley offers information regarding the rights and protections for adults with disabilities, whether an individual has the capacity to make effective health care decisions, has some limits to capacity, or is unable to make effective health care decisions.

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Elise S. Kopley, Esquire

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Mental Health and the Right to Manage Your Own Health Care Decisions

A diagnosis of a mental illness does not automatically mean an individual cannot manage his or her own health care decisions or make a health care plan.  Attorney Borenstein provides information to consider in helping a person understand an illness and create a personal plan for care.

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Devorah Anne Vester Borenstein, Esq.

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Insider Tips on Durable Powers of Attorney

Why do I need a Durable Power of Attorney?

Attorney Timothy R. Loff explains why it’s important to appoint a person you trust to help you with tasks like paying your bills, selling your house, and applying for public benefits, if you are not able to do those tasks yourself. Attorney Loff offers valuable information on commonly asked questions about the Durable Powers of Attorney.

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Timothy R. Loff, Esq.

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Choosing a Health Care Agent

A spouse? A sister? A friend? How do you choose an Agent? Here’s a guide of commonly asked questions to consider when choosing a person to make medical decisions on your behalf.

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Eden D. Prendergast, Esq.

Carol and her mother Pat

New State Regulations for Assisted Living Residences

As of July 1, 2015, all 236 Assisted Living Residences in Massachusetts must be in full compliance with the revised certification regulations. There are two revisions which are particularly important to health care planning and to honor an adult’s choices for care. The two revisions are as follows:

1. Before a resident moves in, a nurse must complete a screening and ask whether the resident has “legal representation or any person who has decision-making authority and the scope of that authority”, and make a note in the resident’s record; and,

2. If the resident has a serious advancing illness, the staff must offer information regarding a full range of end of life care treatment options to the resident, Health Care Agent or Guardian.

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New State Regulations for Hospitals, Clinics, and Long Term Care Facilities

Adults with serious advancing illness must be offered end of life care information to make informed choices.

On December 19, 2014, new state regulations went into effect requiring all licensed hospitals, clinics, and long term care facilities to offer information on a full range of end of life care options to adults with serious advancing illness. The new regulation supports every adult's right to make informed care choices, to communicate their choices in Massachusetts planning documents, and to receive the best possible care that honors an adult's values and choices.

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