Two important events occur this week. The first, you’re very familiar with... Income Tax Day. You may not, however, be as familiar with the other. April 16th is National Healthcare Decision Day (NHDD)... a day that encourages all of us to express our wishes regarding our own healthcare... and for medical personnel and facilities torespect our wishes, whatever they may be.
National Healthcare Decision Day grew out of the realization that many families and medical personnel struggled to understand the healthcare wishes of a loved one who was not then capable of speaking for him/herself. Terri Schiavo is one example. The anguish of that case and others like it influenced several people to focus on making advance care planning a routine part of everyone’s lives.
Advance directives include two basic documents. The first designates the person/s who will make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself; “Healthcare Power of Attorney “ or “Healthcare Proxy” are two examples of this document. The other outlines the type of medical treatments you would want or not want; examples include “Living Wills” and “POLST” documents. All documents can be changed by you at any time.
To participate in National Healthcare Decision Day, take one or more of the following actions.
There’s no doubt that advance planning is a serious matter. It can also be extremely rewarding, leaving you and your loved ones with a much clearer vision of YOUR healthcare wishes... whatever they may be.