I received the following email from Paul Malley, President of Aging with Dignity [not associated with this blog] reminding me about the 5 Wishes:
"We came across your "Aging with Dignity" blog and thought the information contained in it was great. We note in particular you 7/10/10 post on advance directives. I'm not familiar with the laws of Washington, but some states don't automatically recognize the durable power of attorney as the durable power of attorney for health care. Some even require they no be the same person if that person is a beneficiary of the estate or would have some other conflict of interest.
"Moreover, it is not necessary to retain an attorney to complete a durable power of attorney for health care. There are many forms available for that purpose, many of which are provided by the states free. Our own Five Wishes advance directive/durable power of attorney for health care form is easy to understand and use and requires no attorney. It meets the legal requirements of 42 states, including Washington. It also makes provision for empowering the health care agent to apply for Medicaid amount the other powers to be designated. It also satisfies HIPAA requirements.
"I hope you take a moment to familiarize yourself with Five Wishes and what makes it unique among all other advance directives/living wills. A good place to start would be at our website, www.agingwithdignity.org. We have many care manager/consultants like you who are among the 23,0000 Five Wishes partner organizations nationwide."
My organization often deals with legally touchy situations requiring the use of an attorney for estate planning/advance directives but in the past I have used the 5 Wishes form to help me get a clearer understand of the kind of treatment a new client would like in the event that client could not tell me. I highly recommend it. Thank you for the reminder Mr. Malley!