April 16, 2014, will be the seventh annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. The annual event, has been formally recognized by Congress and numerous state and local governments, and has included participation by 76 of the most prominent national healthcare, religious, and legal associations and organizations.
While making healthcare decisions is often difficult in the best of circumstances, making decisions for others is even more complicated. Each of us has the ability to guide our healthcare providers and our loved ones about what we want. Advance directives give you the ability to document the types of healthcare you do and do not want, and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. Having an advance directive can be valuable for all adults, regardless of current age or health status.
In recognition of this, National Healthcare Decisions Day strives to provide much-needed information to the public, reduce the number of tragedies that occur when a person’s wishes are unknown, and improve the ability of healthcare facilities and providers to offer informed and thoughtful guidance about advance healthcare planning to their patients.
Please visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website at www.nhdd.org for a variety of free materials (including free advance directives forms for every state) and tools to assist with thoughtful reflection on healthcare choices and ideas on how to get involved. Additionally, please share this information with your loved ones and colleagues.
With healthcare, “your decisions matter,” however, others need to know your wishes to honor them. There are no wrong answers when thinking about healthcare choices and completing an advance directive. Please use April 16, 2014, to decide, discuss, and document your wishes, whatever they may be.