What you need to know about The End of Life Option Act

Here is some timely and important information regarding ABx2 15 or The End of Life Option Act, which goes into effect on June 9th, 2016 in the State of California.
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Information from The Coalition of Compassionate Care of California website: www.Coalitionccc.org:

The End of Life Option Act (ABx2 15) authorizes an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, as defined, to make a request for a drug prescribed pursuant to these provisions for the purpose of ending his or her life.

What are the qualifications?

Under the law, a “qualified individual” is an adult who is able to understand and make their own medical decisions and who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. To request a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug, all of the following conditions must be met:

Your attending physician must diagnose you with a terminal disease.
Your wish to receive a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug must be voluntary.
You must be a California resident and be able to establish your residency through any of the following means:
(A) A California driver license or other identification issued by the State of California.
(B) Registration to vote in California.
(C) Evidence that you own or lease property in California.
(D) Filing of a California tax return for the most recent tax year.
Your request must be documented under the requirements set forth in Section 443.3 of the law.
You must have the physical and mental ability to self-administer the aid-in-dying drug. (You cannot have someone else administer the drug.)
You will not be considered a “qualified individual” solely because of your age or disability.
A request for a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug must be made solely and directly by the individual diagnosed with the terminal disease and cannot be made on behalf of the patient by anyone else, including, but not limited to, through a power of attorney, an advance health care directive, a conservator, health care agent, surrogate, or any other legally recognized health care decisionmaker.

What is a terminal diagnosis?

A terminal diagnosis is defined as an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, result in death within six (6) months. (Health & Safety Code §443.5 (a)(1)(B); §443.1(q).)

“Medically confirmed” means the medical diagnosis and prognosis of the attending physician has been confirmed by a consulting physician who has examined the individual and the individual’s relevant medical records. (Health & Safety Code §443.1(j).)

Education: End-Of-Life Conversation Training

As a healthcare professional it is crucial for you to know how to respond to inquiries about the End of Life Option Act. 

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California does not take a position on the End of Life Option Act, but we are experts in helping healthcare professionals learn how to have quality conversations with patients about serious illness, the end of life, life-sustaining treatments, advance directives and POLST.

Learn to navigate difficult discussions with patients and loved ones with these education opportunities:

Resources

A number of organizations have published information related to the End of Life Option Act. Here are a few which may be relevant to CCCC members:

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California continues to hold our focus on how to achieve the best possible care for seriously ill patients and their families.

Our goal is to assist healthcare professionals with learning how to guide patients in exploring their options for care during a serious illness, help patients express their informed choices, and strengthen the healthcare environment where those personal choices will be honored.

Do you know what medications you are taking and why?

By Courtney Hogenson, RN, Professional Geriatric Care Manager, Patient Advocate from Heal at Home

Can you name each of your current medications, their dosages and reason for taking each one?

medication

If yes, great. At least you have that going for you right?!

But if not, you may be in trouble.  Have you ever heard of the word “polypharmacy“?

Well, if you can’t name all of the medications you are taking, you should know what polypharmacy means.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word polypharmacy is defined as “the practice of administering many different medicines especially concurrently for the treatment of the same disease.”

Many people rely on a variety of life-saving prescription medications taken together to remain alive and healthy.

But in the case of polypharmacy, it’s not always “the more the merrier”.

With my elderly clients, I often find that no one seems to know what medications are being taken and who is actually prescribing them.

Well, until I step in to remedy the situation.

One of the first things I do when consulting with a new client is gather their entire health and surgical history. A big part of that history is their current regimen of medications.

Many times this is not as easy as it sounds. Most of my elderly clients have multiple doctors who specialize in geriatrics, cardiology, nephrology, psychiatry, endocrinology, neurology, pulmonology, dermatology, oncology, ophthalmology, etc…

And unless all of their doctors are within the same health system and have access to each others list of prescribed medications, each doctor relies on the patient or family member to relay any medication changes or additions to an often complicated regimen.

Pharmacists often catch medication errors and/or duplicate orders. But what if you use more than one pharmacy or you have a local pharmacy and a mail-order pharmacy?

That’s why, in the beginning of working with a new client, I always ask someone to fill out a list of all medications that the client is currently taking.

That includes: prescription, over the counter, vitamins, supplements, injections, eye drops, inhalers.

And I want to know if they ever take ibuprofen, tylenol, aspirin, robitussin… even the occasional benadryl.

Did you know that benadryl can have serious side effects for some people?

As a nurse in the hospital, I once had an elderly patient who had a severe psychotic reaction to taking benadryl.

Yes, a seemingly “harmless” benadryl that the doctor ordered for her.

You see, as we age, our bodies often metabolize drugs differently than they did in our younger years.

Which is why it’s so important to know each and every medication that you or your loved ones are taking.

When I start working with a new client, I get an updated medication list from each and every doctor that he or she sees.

I also consult with the pharmacist to check for any allergies or discrepancies on the lists.

Then I compile them all into a master medication list that is updated any time there is a change in a prescription.

This master medication list includes each and every drug’s brand and generic name, dosage, directions, reasons for taking, as well as the prescribing doctor’s name.

Also included are the PRN (as needed) medications, such as tylenol, aleve, cough syrup, stool softener, etc…

I always take the time to clear each and every PRN medication with my client’s physicians.

You never know, a mild cold medication could counteract or interfere with a drug for Parkinson’s disease.

The most up to date master medication list is always with my client’s weekly pill box.

And when a prescribing physician makes any change to the list, in addition to the Pharmacist, I notify all of the other physicians that my client sees.

And there is always a date printed on the top of the master medication list.

That way everyone who needs to know has access to the right information.

Do yourself a favor and make a master medication list to keep track of your medications.

Just in case you can’t remember them all someday.

For your own peace of mind.

For more helpful information go to www.HealatHomeCare.com or www.AgingLifeCare.org

 

 

 

 

Special Presentation on Memory Loss and Aging

Please join us for a special presentation!

Memory Loss and Aging

Presented by the Alzheimer’s Association

Guest Speaker will be Courtney Hogenson, RN & Geriatric Care Manager from Heal at Home, LLC.

Tuesday April 29, 2014

6:00pm – 8:00pm

At Silverado Senior Living in Calabasas, CA

Memory is precious, but so often taken for granted. Is there anything I can do to help maintain it?

Join us for this special event to discover more about memory loss and aging.

During this presentation, participants will learn:

To identify normal changes in memory as we age
Tips on how to maintain and improve your memory
Causes of changes in memory, when those changes are problematic.

RSVP by Friday, April 25, 2014

Call Mike Duran at 818-222-1000

The Top 3 Tips to Avoid Getting Sick this Winter…

1. Wash your hands often

Need I say more?  Ok, so just wash your hands with warm soap and water long enough to sing the entire tune of “Happy Birthday to You”

And it certainly doesn’t hurt to use a paper towel or tissue to turn off the faucet and when touching the bathroom door knob upon your exit.

 

2. Cover Your Cough

Remember that many viruses and germs are spread through airborne transmission.

So anytime you need to sneeze or cough and don’t have a tissue handy, simply tuck your face into your shirt or sleeve.

And try not to touch your face or mouth during or afterwards.  But if you must, be sure to wash your hands immediately and avoid touching other people or things (harder than it sounds, I know).

 

3.  Get your Annual Flu shot

 I cannot stress the importance of your annual flu shot!

There is so much misinformation and myths around vaccines, but they are scientifically proven to save lives.

And, no, you do not get the flu from the flu shot.

It is literally impossible to “get the flu” from a flu shot.

Here’s why:  The flu shot is composed of a dead virus.

And how vaccines work is like this:  You expose your body to a dead or attenuated/weakened version of a virus in order for your immune system to activate a series of events that in turn leads to your body’s resistance to that virus.

So the next time your body is again exposed to that live virus your immune system has already built up antigens that recognize this particular foreign body and destroy it.

That’s pretty great news and one of the reasons human beings are living so much longer (that and clean water, antibiotics, etc…).

The fact that we have vaccines for diseases and viruses that had not so long ago been all but a death sentence.

A little prick from a needle in your arm is far better than a preventable, but debilitating and/or deadly illness.

And if you say, “Oh but I never get the flu!”  Wow, never, not even once?  Lucky you!   Well I ask, “Do you ever spend time around infants, children, grandparents, people with respiratory issues like asthma, or anyone who has a chronic illness of some sort?”  Because the flu may not knock you out for a week or two, but can actually harm and kill your loved ones that fall in any of the above categories and more.

So please, stop arguing this nonsense, and just roll up your sleeve and get your shot.

Thanks from your Neighborly Nurse,

C

Here is a helpful link with 9 simple steps to avoid getting sick and/or how to cope when you do get sick…

http://www.parade.com/200161/parade/the-sneezin-season-how-to-avoid-getting-sick-this-winter/

Senior Housing Referral Services

Senior Housing Placement & Referral Services

We help seniors and their families find the right housing, caregiving, moving, estate planning, medical, real estate, financial, legal services and much more to meet their unique needs.

Heal at Home provides an in-home assessment with a Registered Nurse.  Or we offer a convenient telephone consultation with seniors and their families who live out of town.

Our team will gather information to learn your lifestyle preferences, medical conditions, care needs, and financial resources to ensure the right plan of care for your health, safety, comfort and satisfaction.

After gathering information, our Registered Nurse and team offer valuable insight, resources, and referrals for senior solutions and their families.

Our database includes a wide range of trusted senior placement specialists with connections to communities throughout Southern California. Once they help you identify a short list of options, your placement specialist will schedule customized tours with your choice of Assisted Living, Independent Living, Board and Care Homes, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care communities.  They will also accompany you on your tours, act as your personal representative, and introduce you to key members of the staff and community.

When you have found your new home of comfort, security and independence, Heal at Home will guide you through that transition.

We gladly share our vetted resources to aid you in any other planning, organizing, moving, real estate, legal, financial, community and caregiving needs.

Our goal is to help you find the best solution for your situation and also provide a gentle transition from your previous home into your new home. We strive to create the most pleasant and comfortable experience as possible.

Having been through the same process with many families, including our own, we understand how overwhelming the process can be… and that’s why we are here to guide you.

Call us today to learn more about how we can help!

323-424-7335