Press release from American Bar Association
WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 18, 2009 -- The onset of a serious illness or injury can affect much more than a person’s health. Knowing what steps to take to get one’s financial and legal affairs in order is often vitally important not only to the affected individual, but to his or her loved ones as well.
The "Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill" -- a project by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging commissioned by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization -- was designed for both the seriously ill individual and those caring for someone who is seriously ill. The guide explains “Seven Key Steps” in a brief, clear way while offering additional tips and resources for readers looking for more detailed information and guidance.
The recently released guide addresses societal issues that have gained prominent media attention in recent years, such as paying for health care, managing health and personal decisions, and patient rights. In addition, the Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill sheds light on recent legislative and regulatory changes, such as the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provides a 35 percent subsidy of the COBRA premium for up to nine months.
"The Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill" is a great resource for anyone facing a serious illness. The book provides critical tools that help readers understand their options, make informed decisions, and minimize some of the anxiety they may be feeling about their financial and legal affairs at this stage of life,” said ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm.
J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO added, “Hospice and palliative care organizations are frequently asked for information regarding end-of-life planning and decision-making. This guide will be a tremendous resource to them as well as faith communities, caregiver organizations, aging service providers, hospitals and others who work to support people living with a serious illness.
Ellen M. Klem, staff attorney of the ABA Commission on Law and the Aging, reminded readers that the book does not give legal advice, but will “arm readers with knowledge about the options they have during this difficult time.”
The views expressed in the book have not been approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the policy of the ABA.
The book is available online online.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
NHPCO is the oldest and largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. NHPCO’s mission is to lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end of life. NHPCO's Caring Connections provides free resources and information to help people make decisions about end-of-life care and services before a crisis. Learn more at www.caringinfo.org or by calling the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898.