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Are Breathing Tubes Being Used Too Frequently on Older Patients? New Study Causes Doctors to Wonder

Your ailing parent is rushed to the hospital. Among other critical symptoms, he or she is having trouble breathing, so the emergency room physicians sedate your loved one and insert a breathing tube. Mechanical breathing keeps respiration going while doctors deal with the other medical challenges. All appears to be well. Last Opportunity to Speak? … Read more

Extreme Advance Directive Allowing Dementia Patients to Refuse Food and Water Triggers Controversy

Is it “an informed and thoughtful choice,” or is it a “disturbing” threat to “the most vulnerable in society”?  A newly-drafted advanced directive in New York State is already provoking deep controversy among medical ethicists, geriatric physicians, and families of those with dementia. The controversy is explained in this article that appeared last week on … Read more

Three Tips for Helping Your Aging Parent Manage Medical Care

The woman sat with her aging mother-in-law across the desk from the oncologist. In front of the two women were 13 prescription bottles lined up in a row. Through tears of frustration the younger woman leaned forward, waved at the row of brown bottles with white prescription labels, and pointed her finger at the oncologist. … Read more

Most Adults Still Avoid this Essential Step in End-of-Life Planning

It’s something almost everyone agrees they need to do. So why do two-thirds of adults still fail to do it? We’re talking about end-of-life planning, specifically the type of advance planning that tells both your family and your health care team exactly how you want to be treated when you’re close to death.  Generally called … Read more

If advance directives take guesswork out of care, why don't more people use them?

Terry Pratchett, famous for his Discworld series died last week at the age of 66.  Pratchett, one of England’s most-loved authors was diagnosed in 2007 with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the “embuggerance,” as he called it.  He became an outspoken advocate for assisted dying.  He once wrote, “I would live my life as ever to the … Read more

Honoring someone's end-of-life decisions

If you’ve created your advanced directive, notified your loved ones of your decision and obtained their buy-in, named a heath care surrogate and made sure your physician knew of your desire, you’d expect to get compliance with those very real and very legal decision but the Florida Health Care Administration has cited 15 Florida nursing homes with failure to honor advanced directives, a violation of Florida state law. 

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