April 16 marks the 6th annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. Despite recent gains in public awareness of the need for advance care planning, studies indicate that most Americans have not exercised their right to make decisions about their healthcare in the event that they cannot speak for themselves.åÊ
The National Healthcare Decisions Day will help Americans understand that making future healthcare decisions includes much more than deciding what care they would or would not want. It starts with expressing preferences, clarifying values, identifying care preferences and selecting an agent to express healthcare decisions if patients are unable to speak for themselves.åÊ
The National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) initiative is a collaborative effort of national, state and community organizations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.åÊ
National Healthcare Decisions Day will leverage participating organizationsÛª efforts and commitment to:åÊ
- Increase awareness of the benefits of making advance care planning so that Americans will be familiar with how to obtain and complete a healthcare power of attorney and/or living will, and talk to others about their decisions.
- Rally a national media campaign so that Americans will know how to access information and resources to help them make future healthcare decisions.
- Mobilize national, state and community organizations, healthcare providers and other key stakeholders to initiate outreach and educational activities for people to learn about advance care planning and complete advance directives and to honor those wishes when they become clinically relevant.åÊ
You may want to check out Alexandra Drane’s and her Engage With Grace: The One Slide Project. She poses five questions that you can answer for yourself online and use to help get the conversation started around this issue.
Then move on and consider utilizing the Five Wishes document as the tool for completing advanced directives. It is recognized in most states as a legal document.