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Advance care planning (ACP) has taken on a necessary urgency in the face of COVID-19, particularly with health care providers caring for seniors and people with pre-existing conditions who are at highest risk for serious medical complications from the virus. With the need to shelter in place, many patients and providers are turning to telephone and video calls to discuss advance care planning forms, treatment options, and goals of care. But getting the completed documents signed or notarized while sheltering in place can be challenging, and California law doesn’t currently provide sufficient guidance regarding to how to complete these ACP documents remotely.

In response , the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) partnered with UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law to identify and address existing provisions in ACP-related law that may create burdensome logistical barriers for patients or providers when ACP is completed remotely, such as requirements to obtain signatures from witnesses or notaries.

Ultimately, our goals are to:

  • Reduce barriers for patients, families, and providers who wish to engage in advance care planning while practicing social distancing.
  • Avoid an approach that risks creating fear from various community stakeholders regarding undue influence and abuse of advance care planning during a public health crisis where rationing by health systems is already a concern.
  • Avoid an approach that creates uncertainty about advance directive or POLST validity once emergency orders are lifted.
  • Avoid upheaval in the life of child as a result of their custodial parent’s illness, hospitalization and/or forced isolation.

We are requesting a Governor’s Executive Standby Order and we are pleased that the Alzheimer’s Association; California Association of Long Term Care Medicine; California Hospice and Palliative Care Association (CHAPCA); LeadingAge California and Jones, Lester, Schuck, Becker & Dehesa, LLP, have joined in support of the effort.

The formal request was submitted on April 23, and we are hopeful that advance care planning under COVID-19 can be better supported. LEARN MORE>>

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