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New Online Template Makes Creating Spanish Advance Directives Easy


New Online Template Makes Creating Spanish Advance Directives Easy

The rapid growth of Ohio's Hispanic population makes addressing the legal needs of Spanish-speakers more critical than ever. An important legal need for every individual is to have an advance directives document. In Ohio, "advance directives" is the term used to describe three types of legal documents that can be completed to express individual wishes regarding future health care: (1) a durable power of attorney for health care (HCPOA), (2) a living will, and (3) a declaration for mental health treatment. Advance directives can be an important tool to use as a guide for healthcare providers if a serious disease or injury leaves an individual unable to make their own health care decisions.

New Online Template Makes Creating Spanish Advance Directives Easy

The rapid growth of Ohio's Hispanic population makes addressing the legal needs of Spanish-speakers more critical than ever. An important legal need for every individual is to have an advance directives document. In Ohio, "advance directives" is the term used to describe three types of legal documents that can be completed to express individual wishes regarding future health care: (1) a durable power of attorney for health care (HCPOA), (2) a living will, and (3) a declaration for mental health treatment. Advance directives can be an important tool to use as a guide for healthcare providers if a serious disease or injury leaves an individual unable to make their own health care decisions.

In response to this need, Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO), The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation have partnered with a number of state-wide health care organizations and associations to develop an online Advance Directives template that will help Spanish speaking clients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) to create their own version of this vitally important document.

"The English version of the Advance Directive template is used hundreds of times each year by Ohio legal aid programs, public users who are handling their own affairs (pro se), and by others in the community," says Upendra Patel, Regional Managing Attorney for Strategic Advocacy with LAWO.

"With the increasing number of Hispanic residents, and with the increasing use of the Internet by this population, our goals are to increase access to legal assistance for LEP clients and to ultimately increase the number of Spanish clients who have an Ohio Advance Directives document for use in making in making health and end-of-life decisions."

Both the English and Spanish templates provide users with an easy, free way to create Advance Directives documents. The ability to provide access to this resource for Spanish-language speakers makes this project the first of its kind in the Ohio legal services community.

"This template will be shared openly with all LSC-funded legal services programs," says Patel. Currently the link to both templates can be found in the Get Legal Help >> Resources >> Self-Help section of this site as well as on the Ohio Legal Services public website (www.ohiolegalservices.org/public). The templates are based on the print version of the "Choices: Living Well at the End of Life," document which includes a healthcare power of attorney, a living will, and organ donation preferences.

The Ohio English Advance Directives document is one of the few statewide accepted forms and is endorsed as the 'standard' for Advance Directives by several health and community organizations.

Partners for this project include Midwest Care Alliance (formerly the Ohio Hospice & Palliative Care Association), the Ohio Osteopathic Association, the Ohio Hospital Association Ohio State Medical Association and Pro Seniors.

The Spanish Advance Directives template is made possible through a Technology Initiative Grant awarded to LAWO through the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The Spanish Advance Directives template is a mirrored version of the English Advance Directives template that has been available throughout Ohio since June 2008.

For those who do not have a computer or electronic communication readily available, both the English and Spanish Advance Directives templates are available as a PDF download on the Midwest Ohio Alliance website (www.midwestcarealliance.org). For additional information about the online Advance Directives in Spanish and English, contact Patricia J. Robb at (419) 930-2517 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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