Since April 16, 2008, National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) has encouraged Americans to take action in regards to advance healthcare planning. Their goal is to inspire, educate, and empower the public about the importance of planning ahead and expressing their wishes for their future healthcare needs. By increasing public education, people are better able to make decisions for their future necessities.
NHDD also helps the masses understand that advance healthcare decision-making includes more than just living wills, and that there are things that they can do today to plan for their future. National Healthcare Decisions Day aims to provide information and tools so the public feels confident enough to express their wishes with family, friends, and healthcare professionals - - do they want to receive home healthcare, be placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility?
“National Healthcare Decisions Day is an important day of awareness and education, focused on encouraging everyone, including those who are healthy and in the prime of their life, to think about and document care treatment preferences before a crisis,” said J. Donald Schumacher, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) President/CEO. Encouraging, and adding to, the conversation about advance healthcare planning will yield positive results for all people, young and old.
The NHDD initiative also encourages healthcare providers and facilities to respect patient wishes, whatever they may be. Healthcare facilities are to participate in flagship venues to engage the public and to spread the word about advance healthcare planning. The goal is for information to be readily available so the public can learn about the benefits of advance healthcare planning and how they can take action.
National Healthcare Decisions Day takes place in all 50 U.S. states and has occurred annually since its founding in 2008. By providing clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare decision-making, NHDD is able to educate anyone and everyone who has access to their materials. These simple, free, and uniform public education tools streamline the 50 independent, but coordinated, state and local events that take place across America on April 16th each year.
To take action and put advance directives in place, one needs documentation, a “healthcare power of attorney.” This documentation identifies the person who has been selected to be the voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself. This healthcare power of attorney will make the decisions based on the wishes that have been identified in the Advance Directive, which does not expire and can be updated as needed. In the states that recognize this documentation, families and healthcare providers cannot override or change the living will or the agent’s previously made decisions. A healthcare agent can be anyone, but they must be over the age of 18. Typically, a family member or close friend is chosen. A living will is also highly recommended to outline further medical treatments and procedures.
This National Healthcare Decisions Day, take action and ensure that the desired actions are taken in your future. Advance healthcare planning isn’t only for the elderly or sick, it is for everyone, young and old, and is beneficial for all.
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