What is National Healthcare Decisions Day?

National Healthcare Decisions Day, also known as NHDD, will be held this Wednesday April 16 as an initiative that aims at inspiring, educating, and empowering healthcare providers and the public in general about the importance of planning healthcare in advance. This will be a day in which patients are encouraged to speak up about how they wish to be cared for, as well as an opportunity for providers and facilities to show their respect for those wishes. As the lifespan of Americans continues to increase and more people will be in need of care giving and long-term healthcare, it is essential to take the time to reflect today on tomorrow’s care.

People can partake in National Healthcare Decisions Day either as patients or as organizers. The former can write down their healthcare decisions now in case they should be unable to express them later on. This can be achieved by way of a document known as an advanced directive. An advanced directive can take one of two different forms; a healthcare power of attorney, or a living will.

·         Also called proxy, agent, or surrogate, a healthcare power of attorney singles out a person that you have chosen to voice your healthcare decisions if you were not able to do so yourself.

·         A living will establishes the type of medical care you would or would not want to receive at the end of your life. 

The following organizations can help you get an advanced directive:

·         Aging With Dignity.

·          Caring Connections.

·         Center for Practical Bioethics.

·         Compassion & Choices.

·         DeathWise.

·         Everplans.

·         Lifecare Advance.

·         MedicAlert.

·         MyDirectives.

·         National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives.

·         Project GRACE.

·         The Will to Live Project.

·         The Patients’ Rights Council.

·         US Living Will Registry.

Additionally, you or your organization can join the ones listed above and host large or small NHDD community education events all across the country and help advocate for improved public understanding of advanced care planning. Official participants receive a treasury of resources that they can use as templates in their local activities. Such resources include the 2012 NHDD case statement, state liaison suggested activities, press release document for NHDD community activities, media kits and past press releases, stickers, poster templates, report cards, recruitment letters, event planning checklists, 30 and 60 second radio scripts from the Center for Practical Bioethics, conversation scripts, participant feedback forms, Wallet Healthcare directive card template, and many more.