Chinese Senior Health Resource Guide
Navigating the US medical system can be a challenge for Chinese seniors, especially if they are not born in the US and have limited command of the English language. The Senior Health Resource Guide, produced by El Camino Health, features a wealth of useful health information and resources especially for Chinese seniors. A collaborative effort between our Chinese-speaking physicians and leaders from the Chinese community, the bilingual guide is written in Chinese and English so that senior citizens can share it with families and care givers. Below is a summary of the contents:
- Healthcare basics – Everything from an overview of the American medical system to how to choose a family doctor and medical specialists, patient rights, and a list of potentially dangerous interactions between Chinese herbal medicines and prescription drugs
- Healthcare facilities – Listings for South Bay Area clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities and more
- Community resources – Addresses a wealth of senior needs, from nutrition, exercise, social activities, to transportation services and assisted living
- Common Chinese senior health concerns – An overview of conditions plus some health and prevention tips
- Health insurance – Tips on navigating Medicare, Medi-Cal and Covered California
Important Forms to Fill Out for You and Your Family
Everyone has their own thoughts about the kind of care they want in the event of a serious illness or accident. It is crucial to make your wishes known in the event you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Make sure you, or your loved one, fill out these important forms. Once the form is completed and signed, make a copy and give it to the person you have appointed to make decisions on your behalf. Consider giving additional copies to your family, friends, healthcare providers and/or faith leaders so that the form is available in case of emergency.
Advance Healthcare Directive (AHCD)
In the event that an accident or illness leaves you unable to speak for yourself, an advance healthcare directive (AHCD) lets your doctor know what kind of care you want and who has been designated to make decisions on your behalf. You can write your preferences about:
- Accepting or refusing life-sustaining treatment (like CPR, feeding tubes, breathing machines)
- Receiving pain medication
- Making organ donations
- Identifying preferred physicians for providing your care, if possible.
It is extremely important to discuss the AHCD with your loved ones in advance, so they have a clear understanding of your wishes.
California maintains an Advance Directive Registry. If your AHCD is filed with the Advance Directive Registry, your health care provider and loved ones should be able to obtain it. You can read more about the registry, including instructions on how to file your advance directive, at the State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General website.
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
In order to give seriously ill patients more control over their end-of-life care, most doctors recommend that they complete a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form. Patients can choose to accept or reject life-sustaining measures such as antibiotics and IV fluids, being on a ventilator, artificial nutrition by tube, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A healthcare professional completes the form after having a discussion with the patient. In order for the POLST to be considered valid, it must be signed by both the patient and a doctor. By preventing unwanted or ineffective treatments and ensuring that a patient's wishes are honored, a POLST can help reduce suffering for both patients and their families.