April 22, 2014

Directives recommended for adult medical care

ELIZABETHTOWN — Every adult should have advanced directives for their medical care in case something happens to them, High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care Case Manager Jessica Gay says.

“It’s not just about how you want to pass. It’s about how you want to live.”

Gay, a registered nurse, was at a recent Essex County Board of Supervisors Human Services Committee session to talk about the work her agency does.


The Essex County offices of High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care are based at the Moriah Business Park in Mineville — in a shared-space building owned and operated by the Essex County Industrial Development Agency.

Students from Champlain Valley Technical Education Center across the street are currently constructing a new building with more room for the organization.


The agency serves individuals and families coping with life-limiting illnesses. Its staff writes an individual plan of care to address the physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs of an individual and family.

In her presentation, Gay said advanced-directive items include a health-care proxy, living will and power of attorney.

“Assign someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. All decisions should be based on the patient’s wishes.”


She said a living will is used only when patients are unable to make decisions for themselves.

There’s also the Five Wishes document, which is more specific and is legal in 42 states, including New York, she said. The Five Wishes form includes both a living will and a health-care proxy.

There’s also the Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form that is filled out by a health-care professional for a patient and becomes part of a medical record.

A copy of the MOLST form goes to the patient’s physician and specifies how the person should be treated if he or she becomes incapacitated.

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