Now that is is legal for Iowa same-sex couples to marry, health care organizations are reportedly being encouraged to improve their communication skills so that they can discuss end-of-life care with their patients following Medicare and Medicaid advance care planning reform. These discussions should take into account different types of relationships, the fears of the patients, their values and life experiences that are relevant.
One way to approach the job of discussing end-of-life care is to employ advance care planning processes that are used for military veterans. Past experiences may be relevant to their end-of-life care. For example, a military veteran may have suffered mental trauma or memory loss that family members may not know. A LGBT person may wish to be identified as a certain gender. The end-of-life care plan ensures that this will be taken into consideration if the person becomes seriously ill or is nearing the end of his or her life.
Essentially, health care professionals should learn how to ask questions that are relevant to each individual person. When it comes to older LGBT individuals, communication tools may not be available for discussing past experiences with sexuality, especially when it comes to discrimination.
Often, an end-of-life care plan may require an elderly individual to move to a retirement home or nursing home. While many nursing homes provide proper care, a reduction in funds and an increase in overworked nurses can potentially lead to elder abuse. If it is believed that a loved one was subject to elder abuse, an attorney can assist with gathering the evidence, such as medical records and testimony, and seeking appropriate damages.
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