JUNE 6, 1994 VOLUME 1, NUMBER 28
By Joan Ardern, Community Liaison, Care Coordinators, Inc.
(Third of three parts)
An advantage of case management firms is that they have developed personal relationships with many professionals in the community and therefore have a larger network of caregivers and services at their fingertips.
The case management company should also be checked for experience and reputation in the community. Unfortunately, case management is relatively new. There are no licensure requirements. Presently, there are reputable organizations such as the National Guardianship Association and the National Association of Geriatric Case Managers that are in pursuit of accreditation. However, until a form of accreditation is in place, here is a list of questions you can ask in a phone interview:
- How many years total experience? (More is better)
- Who are the officers in the company?
- What are the hourly fees?
- Does the company have liability insurance? (A must)
- Does the company have employee dishonesty insurance?
- Does the company have a 24 hour on-call service? (A must)
- Does the company have an RN on staff?
- Is the company bonded?
- Does the company offer personal financial services? (bill paying and insurance papers can become cumbersome)
- Can the company provide local references?
Take your time in choosing caregivers and case managers. Don’t let a crisis situation rush you into making hasty decisions. Ask all the questions you can think of and continue to research the material. The good news is there are a lot of good caregivers out there and among them is the right one for you. After walking through the telephone book, include a phone call to your Area Agency on Aging. In Pima County call the Pima Council on Aging, 790-7262 and Senior Resource Network, 795-7480.
A Federal Court judge in Seattle has ruled that the State of Washington may not prohibit physicians from assisting their patients to commit suicide. The judge, in a ruling handed down May 3, found that the U.S. Constitution requires the State to permit competent, terminally ill patients to seek medical assistance with the decision to end their lives.
The ground-breaking lawsuit was brought by Compassion in Dying, a non-profit organization located in Seattle and established for the purpose of assisting a select category of patients to end their lives. In order to receive assistance from Compassion in Dying, a patient must be fully competent, must have been diagnosed as terminally ill, and must have an attending physician willing to remain involved during the suicide. In addition to Compassion in Dying, the lawsuit was brought by three terminally ill patients (two of whom have since died) and four physicians who treat terminally ill patients.
The judge found that the individual’s right to privacy includes the right to end one’s life when terminally ill, and that the Constitution’s equal protection clause prohibits different treatment of the patient based solely on whether the patient is receiving life-sustaining treatment (which can be refused). An appeal is being prepared.
[Arizona’s assisted suicide law is very similar to Washington’s. Still, the ruling has no immediate effect on Arizona law.]