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The continuum of care is one of the primary concepts that have gained increased importance in the modern times. It is a concept that encompasses a system that offers guidance and tracking capabilities of patients’ health data over a period via a comprehensive collection of health services that span the intensity and all levels of care. This is one of the reasons as to why long-term courses are of great significance among healthcare professionals. Notably, the epidemiology of diseases changes with time hence the need to cover all issues that concern the delivery of care over a given period of time from birth to the end of life.

Delivery of effective long-term care necessitates adequately diverse and skilled workforce in healthcare organizations. According to Hashimoto (2017), licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants or aides, home health aides and registered nurses represent the greatest component of personnel when it comes to long-term care. Notably, other professionals such as social workers, therapists, physician, pharmacists, dentists, podiatrists, dietitians among others offer a variety of essential health services to the aged population. It is important to understand that there are other non-professionals who also provide the aged with many personal services including assistance with bathing and eating.

With the above information in mind, therefore, it is of great significance for the health professionals to understand capacity of the aging from a legal perspective. Daily, people leave legal firms with documents that specify the heir of their wealth as well as those people who will be in charge of their finances and health care decisions (Hashimoto, 2017). This is something that requires legal knowledge to handle to prevent issues of non-compliance which would further elicit unending legal battles.

One of the primary areas of focus in aging is capacity. On their death bed, it is difficult for the patients to provide guidance on their health preferences. This is because the person has no capacity to enter into a legally binding agreement. There are some diseases that accrue great suffering to the patients such that they would prefer dying to prevent undue suffering to themselves and their families because of a situation that is beyond medical reach (Bengton, 2016). This is where the concept of physician-assisted suicide comes in.

It is important to understand that it is illegal to end the life of another person hence this is something that could amount to murder charges and eventually life imprisonment. It is hereafter of importance for the health professionals to understand that irrespective of the directives issued by the person in question, it is necessary to understand whether they have capacity or not. Because of old age, there are some people who lose memory and become mentally incapacitated. The wills left behind by such people and composed under the incapacitated health condition are legally not binding. This is another reason as to why understanding legal perspectives in aging is critically important among health professionals (Hashimoto, 2017).

Another person who may not be able to create a legally binding contract is a person who is under the influence of drugs. Lawfully, for reasons beyond mental incapacity especially under influence of drugs, a person lacks capacity to write a valid will that is legally enforceable upon their death. Physicians have an enormous task of assessing whether the person has capacity or not. However, one of the fundamental details that are necessary here includes the conclusive understanding of what the term capacity means. Secondly, the threshold for the capacitation must be well-understood by the healthcare givers.

In the above scenario, it is evident that healthcare delivery and law are intertwined subjects. One, the physician must have an adequate understanding of what law holds in different situations. For instance, if a person under medication issues directives regarding physician assisted suicide, it is necessary for the healthcare giver to unravel what the law depicts as the threshold of enforcing such a directive. If there lacks capacity, then the doctor has no option other than declining the will of the patient for the interest of compliance with health laws (Bengston, 2016).

Medical errors are some of the major causes of deaths in the modern times. This is the reason why evidence-based practices have gained increased importance and governance in the modern times. A medical error could really cost the physician because it marks some form of negligence of the existing laws and regulations. Regardless of the situation of the patients, these are some of the issues that the caregiver must have in mind in the process of administering health services. Even though the patient as well as their family members would propose a particular approach to medication of the patients, the physician must be in a capacity to tell what the law holds in such instances and the conditions that must be met for their will to be done. Otherwise, in the event of a medical error which is significantly widespread among the old people, the physician in question is held liable and answerable of any health consequences that befall the victim as a result of their actions.

To further explain, it is important for the physicians to understand that there are different kinds of capacity. There are some legal requirements that necessitate only a basic understanding of what is happening whereas there are others that necessitate a higher level of understanding. There are also several legal standards but the most important ones and those that are worth paying details to are those that concern the testamentary and contractual capacity (Jay, 2018).

Considering the testamentary capacity, it refers to the mental and legal capacity to alter or make a valid will. Some of the questions that the physician will need to ask include questions such as what day it is, what the contract has in it and the provisions of the will. This certifies that everything documented in the will was arrived at devoid of coercion and undue influence. For instance, there could be cultural conflicts when enforcing the will of the deceased. Their culture may define an approach for the final farewell, but the will left behind might stipulate that they had directed for cremation of their body. The law becomes supreme in solving such abrasions. In a nutshell, everything undertaken by the physicians must remain within the confines and orders of the law. Capacity is a key thing when enforcing contracts or a will of the aged persons otherwise fierce legal battles are most likely to ensue.

References

Bengtson, V. L. (2016). Handbook of theories of aging. New York: Springer Pub.

Hashimoto, A. (2017). The Gift of Generations Japanese and American Perspectives on Aging and the Social Contract. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jay, S. (2018). Cultural context of aging: Worldwide perspectives.