Category: News

COVID-19 Update

Dear PersonalMDs Patients,

We hope you are well and enjoying the warmer weather.  Our physicians and staff have been busy preparing for your safe return to our office.  We would like to share with you some changes you will notice upon our reopening on Monday, June 1st.  As you know, this is not how we prefer to operate, but we must make these adjustments to keep everyone safe.  What remains unchanged is our commitment to your health.  Following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we have implemented the following measures:

  • We continue to offer telemedicine visits, but we also conduct in-person appointments when deemed necessary by your physician.
  • Office appointments are staggered to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distancing.
  • We have removed all magazines, newspapers, and snacks from the waiting room to promote a sanitary environment.
  • Our exam rooms and laboratory are disinfected before and after each patient.
  • PersonalMDs staff wear masks at all times, practice social distancing, and wash their hands with soap and water throughout each day.
  • Before an office visit, you will be asked a series of screening questions via phone or email.  You will receive a reminder phone call or email one business day before your scheduled visit at which time we will ask these questions again.
  • Please stay in your car when you arrive for your appointment.  Call our front desk (617-960-9937) or your physician’s cell phone from the parking lot, and we will let you know when we’re ready for you to come upstairs.
  • Face masks are required for all visitors.
  • We kindly ask you to enter our office alone unless you require personal assistance.
  • When you arrive for an appointment, you will be directed to your physician’s exam room where we will ask you to wash your hands with soap and water.
  • We are unable to accommodate unscheduled visitors during the pandemic, as we must screen everyone in advance.
  • Appointments are required for laboratory testing at PersonalMDs.  Walk-ins are no longer permitted.
  • If you develop a fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, cough, muscle aches, or sudden loss of taste or smell, please do not come into our office.  Email or call your physician and they will provide you with guidance.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and continued support.  We have missed all of you and appreciate your confidence in our care!

 

Stay safe and well,

Tania Bandak, MD, MPH
Jeffrey Bass, MD
Rachel Haims, MD
Ronald Katz, MD
Laurie Katzman, MD
Brad Weiner, MD

Advanced Care Planning: It’s Never Too Early

It’s always important to plan ahead for the future.  When we are healthy and active, it’s natural to avoid thinking about what may happen if we were to develop a significant illness or injury.  However, the best time to plan how our affairs will be managed during sickness is during times of good health.  If we become seriously ill, what type of medical care do we wish to receive?  Do we seek heroic measures, comfort care, or something in between?  Who will make these decisions for us should we become incapable of making them ourselves?  Fortunately, we have several tools at our disposal that make it easier to plan for such difficult times.

MOLST Form

The MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) form was implemented statewide in Massachusetts in 2012.  This form was created to help individuals document their goals of care should they develop a significant, life-altering illness.  It is a legal document that guides physicians, family members, and other providers who deliver medical care.

The MOLST form represents an important advance in planning for end-of-life care.  Until this form was adopted, health care providers relied on the DNR/DNI form which asked black and white questions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and intubation (breathing tube, ventilator) for life-threatening emergencies.  However, as we all know, decisions related to health care involve many areas of gray, and the MOLST form recognizes some of these nuances.

While the MOLST form does include questions regarding CPR and intubation, it also addresses other less invasive forms of medical care.  These questions include whether an individual wishes to receive intravenous fluids, artificial nutrition (feeding tube), non-invasive ventilation (bi-PAP or C-PAP), or dialysis.  There are queries regarding duration of treatment and whether a person wishes to be transferred to a hospital for medical care.

The MOLST form should be completed in consultation with your physician.  For more information, please see the following link:  http://www.molst-ma.org

Healthy Care Proxy

When healthy, we are able to make informed decisions about our own medical care.  What happens to an individual who becomes cognitively impaired and is no longer able to make such decisions? A health care proxy is someone who is given the legal authority to make medical decisions on behalf of another person.  The health care proxy is not “activated” until an individual is deemed incapable of giving informed consent to medical treatment.  When selecting a health care proxy, it is important to make sure the proxy understands a person’s wishes and goals of care should a serious illness develop.

The Commonwealth of Masssachusetts offers an easy-to-complete form by which a person may appoint two health care proxies (a primary health care proxy and a back-up).  This form may be found here:  http://www.massmed.org/healthcareproxy

Living Will

After completing the MOLST form and selecting health care proxies, some individuals choose to create a living will.  A living will is a written narrative by which a person describes their goals of care should they develop a serious illness.  It serves as a guide for the health care proxy and medical providers when an individual is no longer able to express their wishes or make informed decisions regarding their own care.

Who Should Keep These Documents?

After creating these documents, it is important that these papers be made accessible to all parties who may be involved in that person’s medical care.  This includes:

  • Health care proxies (both the primary health care proxy and the back-up)
  • Medical team (physicians, hospitals, home care providers)
  • Immediate family members or close friends
  • Estate attorney

Where Do I Get More Information?

Primary care physicians are available to guide patients with their decision-making process. Attorneys who specialize in estate planning may also provide counseling.   The following websites offer helpful information:

National Institute on Aging Information Center https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/advance-care-planning

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)     http://www.cdc.gov/aging/advancecareplanning

 

Wishing you good health,

Brad Weiner, MD

 

This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. Please contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Call us at (617) 307-3200