Center for Elder Law & Justice
As an attorney working in a hospital setting, I have a somewhat unique job. I routinely work with clients after they have sustained a traumatic injury, suffered a serious illness, or after they have received a life-changing medical diagnosis. This work is preformed through the As a result, the clients and families who I work with are often in a state of crisis – the world as they know it has changed. I have found that what is already a stressful situation is often compounded when advance planning has not been previously discussed. Conversely, the families that have taken the time to make a plan, often years before the current medical crisis, are often less stressed, less overwhelmed, and better equipped to handle the changing landscape around them.
For these reasons, I am a proponent of making an advance plan, and as a lawyer I encourage my clients to complete both a Health Care Proxy and a Power of Attorney. But beyond simply having these important documents in place, I also advocate that my clients talk with their loved ones about their wishes for medical treatment, in the event they are unable to communicate their wishes during a time of need. By taking a few minutes to describe their wishes, their values, and their goals, not only do my clients feel more comfortable with their loved ones making such important healthcare decisions in their place, but their loved ones too feel a sense of relief.
Rachel Baldassaro is an attorney with Center for Elder Law & Justice. She is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo and the University at Buffalo School of Law.