Bobbi Kristina Brown’s tragic death offers a number of poignant end-of-life lessons for parents, young adults, and seniors alike. First and foremost, health and legal experts say Brown’s death spotlights the need for establishing written advance medical directives as early as age 18. These include the designation of a healthcare proxy, a living will, and a “HIPAA Release,” clearing the way for a healthcare agent to communicate with providers about the care of a patient who is in a coma or otherwise incapacitated. Such planning is typically viewed as a concern for older Americans, but younger people — like Brown — can also find themselves unable to communicate their end-of-life wishes as a result of accidents, brain injuries, infections, or other illnesses.
Last week’s NewsMax article, titled “End-of-Life Lessons of Bobbi Kristina’s Tragic Death,” suggests that parents of college-bound freshman (18 and older) should think about having a healthcare designation, a living will, HIPPA release, and durable power of attorney prepared for the ‘new’ adult so that parents can act on behalf of their kids if the unforeseen occurs.
Bobbi Kristina was only 22 and the only child of the late Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. She passed away after a very public six-month family fight over how to treat the comatose Brown, after she was found face-down in a bathtub in the Atlanta townhome she shared with her boyfriend Nick Gordon.
This story illustrates the difficulties families deal with when confronted with complex healthcare decisions. The article emphasizes the need to create advance medical directives to help family members of patients. These end-of-life instructions should be in a legal document, prepared by an estate planning attorney so that it satisfies the requirements of state law. The directives should include:
It’s no shock that end-of-life planning is a difficult topic to discuss. Just 26.3% of Americans have completed advance directives, according to a 2013 study. But as the Bobbi Kristina Brown case shows, it’s important and never too early to discuss this topic with spouses, family members, partners, adult children, and parents.
Reference: NewsMax (July 31, 2015)“End-of-Life Lessons of Bobbi Kristina’s Tragic Death”
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