Hudson Valley Mediators
PO Box 3732 • Kingston NY 12402 • Phone 845-338-9638

Eldercare & Healthcare

Eldercare Mediation & Healthcare Mediation

Kingston NY • Highland NY • Albany NY

Mediation aims at reducing the emotional tension that surrounds family disputes.  A trained mediator modulates your discussion so that all involved can exchange perspectives, share information, work in cooperation, and find common grounds.  The parties can negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement, and learn techniques for resolving future differences. 

Family conflicts surrounding eldercare and healthcare decision-making are particularly complex and multidimensional.  Animosity and conflicts are expressed on many levels and in different ways, often making it difficult for family members involved to resolve the conflict on their own.     


Adult children often disagree on how to care for their elderly parent.  Issues producing family conflict include physical care of the frail elder, insufficient help from other siblings, financial burden, and relationship problems with the elderly parent.  Another source of significant family conflict can be medical treatment decisions:  Who should make them?   What is the right decision?  Also at issue is the dignity of, and quality of life for, the frail elder.  Lifelong sibling rivalry and family animosity often re-surface due to these new challenges.

The preferred outcomes of eldercare mediation are the preservation of the elderly parent's dignity and family members' relationships, the adoption of an eldercare strategy that works for all involved, and a fair agreement for sharing responsibility.

What points can be decided in eldercare mediation?

  • Quality of life for both the elderly parent and caregivers
  • Relationship issues: elder parent and children, siblings, other relatives
  • Living arrangement Car keys, driving and transportation 
  • Caregiving (sharing of responsibilities, respite, future plans) 
  • Financial decisions 
  • Communication skills 
  • Powers of attorney and guardianship issues 
  • Health care decisions 
  • Emergency decisions 
  • Nursing home care 
  • Planning for end-of-life decisions (preference for no resuscitation or life prolongation, advanced directives, appointment of health care representatives, funeral planning)
Eldercare mediation is a direct, focused and short-term process.  It may take one or more sessions, depending on the complexity of the issues, and the number and availability of family members involved. Each session is about two to three hours in length.  If more than one session is needed, they are scheduled one or two weeks apart or as preferred by the family.  

At the conclusion of the mediation, a Memorandum of Understanding is prepared by the mediator listing the terms agreed to by all parties.  
While the goal of mediation is to produce agreement, mediation also preserves the dignity and quality of life of the elderly parent, promotes fair division of responsibilities, plans for the future, improves family communication and cooperation. and preserves family relationships.


What situation uses healthcare mediation?
Often healthcare mediation is a component of eldercare mediation. 

But the use of healthcare mediation is not limited to the care of the frail elder.  Many families who have to manage a loved one with a chronic illness, severe disability, or a medically fragile condition frequently experience long-term stress and family conflict.  For example, studies have reported that parents with special needs children experience a much higher divorce rate.  Family relationship can be rocky; when caregivers are overwhelmed by the emotional and physical demands of caregiving.   

Healthcare mediation can be utilized within the family to manage conflict between the patient and family members, or between family members involved in the caregiving situation. 

If family members disgree with the doctors, the nurses and hospital policies and protocols, healthcare mediation could be useful in clarifying the goals and objectives of the involved parties and find a way to resolve conflict.     

What are some of the issues that come up in healthcare mediation?

Disputes and conflicts often concern financial issues, sharing of caregiving responsibilities, disagreement over treatment approaches and goals.  Healthcare decisions range from choosing the appropriate level of pain control, deciding whether the patient is a good candidate for surgery, to determining when to stop treatment altogether.   

Most healthcare decisions are not made by the patient alone, but are made in the context of family, with family members holding diverse attitudes, feelings and fears.  Family members may be at odds with one another because each sees the situation differently and values different things.  For example, some believes all treatments should be tried to prolong life, others feel that quality of life and quality time with family are more valuable. 

If the patient is unable to make decisions regarding his or her own treatment plan, family members may seriously disagree on the best course of action to take.  Healthcare mediation is appropriate to help the family members manage this conflict.     

The patient's physicians and nurses can also be invited to participate in the healthcare mediation, to clarify treatment options, prognosis and treatment goals.  

Health care decisions are complex decisions.  Among other things, they involve the medical indications for certain treatments and the doctors' recommendations, the patient's preferences, quality of life issues, and contextual features, such as living environment, the family's caregiving capabilities.  Healthcare mediation can also be of benefit when family members disagree with the hospital staff and hospital protocols.

The mediation process allows all involved parties to express their own values and priorities, helps them to manage their differences and conflicts, and empowers them to share the burden of decision-making.

The mediator, as a trained neutral professional, assists the parties to reach consensus on the most appropriate course of action to take, so that no one feels that his or her values are unduly compromised. 

The benefits of healthcare mediation

The mediation process encourages family collaboration.  It is non-confrontational and therefore promises to better preserve family relationships and trust among the parties.  Often during these mediation conversations, information and issues crucial to understanding the current dispute come to light.  The resolution of these long-held miscommunications and misperceptions may very well depend on further honest and respectful family conversations.  Healthcare mediation provides the best opportunity for family members to clear up past misunderstandings and grievances.  

Finally, because healthcare mediation supports honest dialogue and information exchange, the chances are maximized that the family members will come to an agreement on a treatment plan that truly honors the values and wishes of the loved one being cared for.

Call us for more information. 845-338-9638
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