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Hello @williamk303842 :   You may wish to contact your local Area Agency on Aging, State Department of Elder Affairs, or State Bar Association.  An attorney who practices Elder Law in your state can advise you on your options.   You can find an attorney who practices this type of law by contacting your State and City Bar Associations and by looking up attorneys in your area through the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Amanda Singleton
All posts are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The posting and viewing of the information in this community should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues. Nothing written in this community is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.
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Where can I locate a contact to hear more about a health care surrogate

for adults who have medical benefits but have no living relatives to make

decisions for them?

 

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Hi, @sigli , and thank you for your question. 

 

A POST is a Physician's Order for Scope of Treatment.  It's a medical order for specific types of treatment you want in the event of a medical emergency, as opposed to a legal document like a health care surrogate.  These are appropriate to create in the event of a serious illness diagnosis, whereas it is appropriate to create an advance directive like a health care surrogate at any time (preferable when you are young and healthy).

 

There was a thread on this subject last week that you may find by searching the forums, or perhaps an admin can link it to our thread.  If you would like to read more and find out what is available in your state, click here.

 

Thank you!

Amanda Singleton
All posts are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The posting and viewing of the information in this community should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues. Nothing written in this community is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.
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What is a POST directive?  Thank you .....HG

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Hi @cw2505  and thank you for your question!   

 

As the Baby Boomers advance in years, due to divorce rates, less children, and several other factors, there will be lots of seniors who don't have relatives at the ready to assist with medical and other needs.  For those who may not have extra hands on deck, it is an important part of your planning to assemble a care and advocacy team before you need it.   

 

In 2012, the American Geriatrics Society published a study describing tens of thousands of patients nationwide who had no family members or designated surrogates available to help with medical decision-making.  The study found that 16% of patients in intensive care units, 3% of nursing home residents, and a large (unspecified) number of individuals in a variety of settings who were facing end-of-life decisions were all facing the absence of a relative or designated surrogate.

 

A surrogate is a person who can receive your medical information and make medical decisions on your behalf.  Although you may not have a relation who can serve in this role, perhaps you may have a trusted friend, community member, professional advocates, or clergyperson who would be a competent advocate.   Some states have licensed professional fiduciaries and certified guardians that can serve as your surrogate and assist you in other ways.  Some states do not.    You may want to look for this as an option if there are no other available people you can think of to help you.

 

So, what happens if you do not name a surrogate?  Look to your state's laws to find out.  Click here to see a chart published by the American Bar Association that lists every state's default surrogate law and who would get priority to serve as your surrogate.  The red font on the chart describes what happens if there is no available qualified surrogate (no family, friends, etc. available to serve). 

 

Take, for example, my state of Florida.  In Florida, our law gives the following order of priority for a surrogate if an incapacitated person did not make a health care surrogate document:

  1. Judicially appointed guardian
  2. Patient’s spouse
  3. Patient’s parent
  4. Adult sibling. If more than one, a majority of adult siblings available for consultation.
  5. Adult relative who has exhibited special care/concern for patient and who has maintained regular contact with patient
  6. Close friend
  7. Clinical social worker selected by medical provider’s bioethics committee

See that our law starts with a judicially-appointed guardian and ends with a licensed clinical social worker?  In these circumstances, it is very possible that a stranger would be the person appointed to make your medical decisions for you.    It's generally preferable to avoid this.

 

Also, I wanted to mention that here in Florida, we have the option of making a document called a Declaration of Preneed Guardian.  This allows you to name a person who you do want to serve as your guardian should one ever need to be appointed.  It also lets you say who you wouldn't want (very important if you are concerned about exploitation, estranged relatives, etc.).  

 

I hope this gets you started as you're thinking about the future and creating your plan.  Thank you, Cheryl!

 

Amanda Singleton
All posts are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The posting and viewing of the information in this community should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues. Nothing written in this community is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.
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Rd 

Spoiler
I am a 69 year old women with no children or anyone available to help me as I age or need medical assistance.  What does a surrogate do and how would I locate such a person?  I would appreciate as much info as you can share.  Thank you, Cheryl
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Do you need a health surrogate? Ask our expert.

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AARP Expert Caregiving Series: Week 3 - Caregivers and a Health Surrogate 

March 18-24, 2019.

 

Welcome to week three of our four week Caregiving Expert Series here in the AARP Online Community, Caregiving Forum.  Our AARP Expert, Amanda Singleton, is here to help with Legal and Financial questions you have as a Caregiver.

 

This week’s topic is Health Surrogate

 

health care surrogate is an adult who is appointed to make healthcare decisions for you when you become unable to make them for yourself.

 

Have questions about a health surrogate?  Let us help you find answers.

 

AARPTeri
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