Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 16 Is National Health Care Decisions Day

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.

To highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making, April 16 has been designated as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

Interested organizations and individuals throughout the country are asked to help raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning on this special day—and throughout the year. To help realize this goal, NHDD organizers have created the National Health Care Decisions Day Web site, with information and tools for the public to talk about future healthcare decisions and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living wills) in accordance with their applicable state laws.

What can you do to observe this special day?

  • Schedule time with your loved ones  to “Have the Talk” and complete your own advance directive. You'll find many tools, including free forms, to help walk you through the process and to 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: to them, orencourage them to find a nearby participant and attend a local NHDD event.

  • Share your advance directive with your healthcare providers and make sure it is on file in the event it is needed.

  • If you've already had the conversation with your loved ones and 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, i.e., Just 5 days to #NHDD, when will you #havethetalk? @NHDD can help:

    • 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. 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: 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.
I encourage you to use and share the resources available through the NHDD Web site to make your health care decisions now, ahead of the unknown later.

[Posted in solidarity with the 2011 NHDD Blog Rally]

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