Health Law and the Elderly: Managing Risk at the End of Life: An Introduction to the Symposium
10 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 7, 2011
Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate about how to best manage legal and medical risks at the end of life. This brief Article is an introduction to a written Symposium and a full day of live presentations that not only advance the ongoing debate but also offer a number of fresh ideas on the subject.
The 2010 Widener University Law Review Symposium, Health Law and the Elderly: Managing Risk at the End of Life, was held on March 26, 2010 at the Widener University School of Law’s Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom in Wilmington, Delaware. It was co-sponsored by the Widener University School of Nursing, the Medical Society of Delaware, the Delaware End-of-Life Coalition, and Delaware Hospice.
The Symposium brought together a group of thoughtful and accomplished scholars and practitioners to assess and improve how consumers and professionals plan for the end of life. Local and national experts addressed topics such as advance care planning, MOLST, decision-making capacity, end of-life communication, fraud and abuse laws impacting hospice, professional ethics, and aid-in-dying.
End-of-life healthcare has been getting more attention than ever. However, there are serious ongoing problems. Many are due to the fact that lawyers lack a sufficient appreciation of the clinical reality and how decisionmaking standards are actually implemented. Analogously, healthcare providers lack a sufficient understanding of the governing legal standards.
To address both these shortcomings, the Symposium was directed not only to lawyers but also to physicians, hospital administrators, hospital ethics committee members, nurses, social workers, other health professionals, health policy experts, and academics involved in these disciplines. To enhance its value and interest to these professionals, the Symposium was approved for CLE credits (including ethics credits), CE credits for nursing, and CME credits for medicine.
This Symposium brought these various disciplines together to identify problems, challenges, strategies, and solutions. Both the Symposium, and the articles published in this issue of the Widener Law Review that stemmed from presentations at that event, make significant contributions to a critical and topical concern for contemporary society.
Keywords: end of life, healthcare, elderly, health law
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation