Social work and end-of-life care

Social work is important in end-of-life care

Archive for March 2013

Mozart, Liszt and Bartok memorials in Bratislava

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Another of my occasional posts of memorials. These are of three composers who performed or stayed in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia – it’s only a few miles from Vienna and was one of the major cities of the Austro-Hungarian empire. These memorial plaques are in three different styles and represent composers of different periods: Mozart, Liszt and Bartok.

Memorial MozartMemorial LisztMemorial Bela Bartok


Written by Malcolm Payne

15 March 2013 at 12:07 pm

Posted in memorials

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Document your wishes if you don’t want medical heroics at the end of your life – teaching resources

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130313 CPR articleAn American article on making sure you have documented your wishes if you want to die peacefully and don’t want the medics to try to save you with undue heroics. Refers to American law, but the situation is universal, and there are links to audio and video case examples, which you might find useful if you teach in this field.

Link to: Bakersfield CPR drama could have been prevented by common document – San Jose Mercury News.

Written by Malcolm Payne

14 March 2013 at 11:22 am

Solicitors are not good at telling if people have the mental capacity to make a Will

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130311 solicitorsAn interesting article reports research into solicitors dealing with older people who may not have mental capacity – if their interviewing skills are poor, they’re likely not to recognise that their client may not have the capacity to make a Will.

Anyone who has worked in end-of-life care will have had the experience of a patient wanting to write or change their Will – in a hurry because they have suddenly become aware that they are going to die soon. Often this is because a social worker has suggested to them that they need to do this. And because professionals and their agencies working in palliative care are cautious about getting involved (so as not to be accused of seeking a legacy for themselves or their hospice), the solicitor is often left to do this on their own. If their interviewing skills are naff, they’re likely to miss mental incapacity.

My experience was that, when a Will was disputed afterwards, and the solicitor’s judgement questioned (they are legally responsible for ensuring that their client has the capacity to make a Will – this is called ‘testamentary capacity’) they often seem to have given little thought to whether their client had capacity and this research explains why. Mental and testamentary capacity is not always connected with the ‘social graces’ and many older people can keep up the veneer of coping, when they don’t have the judgement to make complicated decisions.

It seem that social workers referring a patient to a solicitor ought to take responsibility for flagging up if there are doubts about capacity.

Link to Testamentary capacity and solicitor negligence – Lexology.

Written by Malcolm Payne

11 March 2013 at 12:01 pm