A Rally for Our Loved Ones and Ourselves

In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), April 16, I’m taking a break from blogging this week and spending my writing time with my loved ones.  I hope that this guest post, by Nathan Kottkamp, Founder and Chair of NHDD, will inspire you to think about the conversations we all should be having with our own loved ones about an uncomfortable but important topic – planning for when we die.

Are you one of the 80% of Americans who haven’t completed an Advanced Directive yet? We’ve all struggled with how to get started on this topic – and there are plenty of reasons why we resist:
  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Not sure how to start
  • Don’t know what’s legally binding
  • Worried I’ll hurt someone’s feelings
  • Just haven’t had the time to do it
That’s why we recognize April 16 as  National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD)  – a movement designed to inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.  Put another way, NHDD is a day for all adults to mark their calendars, have the talk, and document the talk with an advance directive.

Regardless of your own reasons not acting already, you might find your way to start the conversation by watching this three and a half minute video. It’s proof that it takes only a few minutes to start a conversation with your loved ones about advance care planning—a conversation that affects people for a lifetime:



After the goosebumps settle down from watching the video, here are some specific things you can do for NHDD:
  • Lead by example.  Schedule time with your loved ones (on or before April 16) to “Have the Talk” and complete your own advance directive. There are many tools, including free forms, you can use to walk you through the process and make your wishes known; access them through the NHDD Public Resources page.
  • Encourage your loved ones and friends to learn more about advance directives and to complete their advance directives. You can forward this link: www.nhdd.org.
  • Share your advance directive with your healthcare providers and make sure it is on file in the event it is needed.
Already had the conversation with your loved ones, but want to do more?  Here a few suggestions to rally support for NHDD and encourage even more action:
  • Like the NHDD Facebook fan page and share it with your Facebook friends
  • On Twitter? Follow @NHDD and share the information with your followers, such as: Just 5 days to #NHDD, when will you have the talk? @NHDD can help: www.nhdd.org
  • Share NHDD with your professional contacts on LinkedIn
  • Send an email to your friends, staff, colleagues, lodge/social club members, and/or house of worship, telling them that you are participating in NHDD and encouraging them to do the same.  Share the information above with them and/or use this template email:

    • April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, and I hope that you will join me in taking this time to discuss and document your healthcare wishes.  We all need to be prepared in the event of a health crisis, and having the talk is easier than most people think, but many of us need a little inspiration or a reminder to do it.  I hope that this message and National Healthcare Decisions Day are all you need for inspiration.  Please mark your calendar for April 16 to have the talk with your loved ones.  There are all sorts of free resources, including free advance directive forms for each of the 50 states, on the NHDD website: www.nhdd.org.  Additionally, please help me spread the word with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.   Advance care planning is something we ALL should do and encourage others to do, regardless of age or current health.  Discussing your wishes can be one of the most important gifts you ever give your loved ones.
Please use and share the resources available through the NHDD website and encourage and empower us all to make our healthcare decisions now for whenever they will need to be known.

Nathan Kottkamp
Founder and Chair
National Healthcare Decisions Day

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