Let’s face it, as developments in medical technology improve our ability to prolong human life, it has become increasing important that patients, families, and physicians make proactive decisions regarding CPR and other life-sustaining treatments.I remember when my mother was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She was literally days away from death and in the hospital. I made sure that she had a copy of her Advance Directives in her chart at home (she lived with us), with the ambulance crew that transported her to the hospital (most people miss this), with her personal physician, and at the hospital itself. Since I was in charge of her case, this was an easy thing to do. And in the end it did pay off.It is important that the primary Caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient makes sure that the patient’s Advance Directives always stay with them at all stages of medical care. As a Caregiver it is our job to make sure that all parties involved in the patients care that might need a copy of the Advanced Directive has one. This a priority item when we take on a new client at Dr. Romeo’s In-Home Care in Reno. It’s on our client’s check-list and “transfer form.”In the Nursing Home setting, Advance Directives play a prominent role, but will an Advance Directive of a patient reach an Emergency Room if that patient is transferred from a Nursing Home to a hospital? Probably not. Why? Most “transfer forms” from a Nursing Home setting to the Emergency Room in a hospital do not include a check list. A well designed check list should require that a copy of the Advance Directive be included in the patient’s records at the time of transfer.I can’t find a study about transfer forms and Advanced Directives as it involves in-home care for seniors. But I can assure you that I have never found an in-home care company other than my own that had a system in place to make sure that in an emergency, a copy of the Advance Directive went to the hospital with the client, along with other important medical information.This is an easy fix and one that you don’t want to miss with your clients and relatives. Take the time to make sure that a system is in place that ensures that any advance directive to healthcare professionals is easily accessible to them and will transfer with your clients to any facility. Advance Directives don't work if doctors don't have them! It's the one time that they won't work.
Dr. Ken Romeo is known as "The Alzheimer's Doc." He owns and operates an in-home senior health care company that specializes in Alzheimer's care in Reno, Nevada.