National Healthcare Decisions Day, or NHDD, is a national call to action, to build awareness and spark conversation on the importance of advance care planning. The theme for 2016 is “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.”
The main goals of NHDD are to make the topic of advanced care planning something more frequently discussed and to open the lines of communication on a topic that can sometimes be difficult to talk about.
There are so many reasons why it is important to think about and take steps to complete advanced care planning, but in particular, it allows you to:
- Clearly document your wishes
- Avoid burdening your loved ones with having to guess what you would want
- Avoid conflict among your loved ones
NHDD focuses on documenting your decisions related to how you would want to receive health care, in case you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself. The most effective way to document your decisions is through an advance health care directive.
An advance health care directive is a legal document that is specific to your state. Click here to download your state’s advance health care directive form.
There are typically 3 parts to an advanced health care directive form.
Part 1: A Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy is someone you choose to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. For example, you may choose your spouse or your sibling to make those decisions for you.
Part 2: A Living Will
A living will focuses on identifying specific types of health care you do or do not want to receive.
Part 3: Organ Donation or Anatomical Gifts
This section allows you to make general or specific decisions about organ donation or anatomical gifts. For example, if you would like to donate your body for research.
Once you have an advance health care directive completed, you should share your decisions with your loved ones and your health care team, so that they know your wishes.
The best time to complete an advance directive is now. We never know what tomorrow will bring and it’s so important to be prepared.
Medical decision making is just one part of the estate planning process. You may also want to consider completing other documents, such as a will, trust, or power of attorney for financial affairs. For more information about estate planning, visit www.lawhelp.org, and then pick your state.
Get involved in National Healthcare Decisions Day this year!
- Learn more about the steps you may choose to put in place for your own medical decisions or talk with family members and loved ones.
- If you are a health professional or advocate, there are valuable resources and ideas provided by NHDD.org here!
On Saturday, April 16, 2016, be a part of the movement to demystify healthcare decision-making!