Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Health Care Questions

Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning

Our office has assembled and is regularly updating a list of important local, state, and federal resources to help our clients and the community during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Click here to visit the Coronavirus Resource Center.

Table of Contents

If I have a Living Will and I get Coronavirus (COVID-19), does this mean that they will not use a ventilator if I need one?

Many people stipulate in their Living Will that they do not want life-sustaining measures such as artificial respiration, use of a ventilator, or mechanical breathing. The news is reporting that Coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause severe respiratory problems requiring hospitalization and the use of a ventilator. This might leave you wondering: If I have a Living Will and I contract Coronavirus, does this mean that they will not use a ventilator if I need one?

Generally, no. A Living Will typically only applies if you have a terminal illness, are in a persistent vegetative state, or are in the very late, advanced stages of brain disease such as dementia. If you were otherwise healthy prior to contracting Coronavirus, your Living Will will not prevent medical providers from using a ventilator if necessary.

 

My elderly parent or loved one resides in a nursing home or senior community, should I consider moving them into my home instead?

At this point, most sources, including the CDC, are urging people not to move their loved ones.

If you are still concerned, here are some criteria to help you consider what to do:

  • Ask the nursing home or community what safety precautions they’re taking
  • Know that many long-term care facilities have closed to outside visitors to help protect their residents
  • Talk to your loved one’s physician and ask for their medical opinion
  • Weigh the risks of your loved one potentially being exposed at the facility vs. being in your home and losing access to on-site medical care

 

My elderly parent or loved one resides in a nursing home that is long longer allowing visitors, how can I stay connected with my loved one?

Discuss with the facility what your options are. Is it possible to drop off a tablet? If so, would the staff help your loved one log on to FaceTime or similar so you can interact with them?

If the phone is your only option, increase the frequency of calls or consider putting it on speakerphone so you can chat idly as you go about your day.

If your loved one is hearing impaired, captioned telephones can be used. You can find more information from the FCC about captioned telephones here.

 

My elderly parent or loved one resides in another town or state and is currently homebound, what can I do to help them?

Many seniors are uncomfortable with online shopping, you can help them by arranging to have the necessary food and toiletries delivered to their home. Look into whether the local Meals on Wheels chapter is still able to safely deliver meals. As of this writing, our local chapters of Meals on Wheels are continuing to deliver meals.

If they’re able to safely do so, encourage them to get some exercise by walking around the house or neighborhood.

 

We'll be continuing to add more FAQs and Information on a regular basis. To receive updates, sign up for our special Coronavirus & Estate Planning Guide and all recipients will receive any update that we send out. Plus, we're working on some fun stuff too to help bring a bit of joy to an uncertain situation. Click HERE to sign up.

 

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