On National Healthcare Decisions Day which is on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, all across the country, health care facilities, professionals, chaplains, the legal community and others will participate in a collective effort to highlight the importance of making advance healthcare decisions. These professionals and facilities will be providing tools for making these crucial decisions available to everyone. Together, we are hoping to address the public’s misunderstandings about advance healthcare planning and advance directives. Such misunderstandings include: 1. That a living will and a healthcare power of attorney are the same thing (they are not). 2. That advance directives are only used for limiting care (also not true), and 3. That a lawyer is needed to draft an advance directive (not true as well).
Advance directives are not hard to complete. They are quite simple and should be done with your doctor. Also, include your loved ones so that they are well aware of your decisions. So many of us believe that a severe illness or a catastrophic injury will never happen to us. We hope they don’t, but all of us should be prepared so that our wishes are carried out should something happen to us.
Ultimately, National Healthcare Decisions Day strives to provide much-needed information to the public, reduce the number of tragedies that occur when a patient’s wishes are unknown, and improve the ability of healthcare facilities and providers to offer informed and thoughtful guidance about advance healthcare planning to their patients. To learn more, go to www.nhdd.org today. You’ll be glad you did!