All Americans Encouraged to Learn about Advance Care Planning on National Healthcare Decisions Day

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization stresses the importance of talking with your loved ones.
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Yesterday was Healthcare Decisions Day and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization took the opportunity to stress the importance of people talking frankly about the care they would or would not want if ever faced with a serious medical condition or life-limiting illness.

NHPCO is a founding supporter of National Healthcare Decisions Day and works with hospices across the country to educate communities about advance care planning. Along with other national, state, and community organizations they are raising awareness of the importance of advance healthcare decision-making. This includes official and legal steps, like completing an advance directive and appointing a healthcare power of attorney (someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself). However, equally important are the conversations with family and loved ones about healthcare preferences and choices.

“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 the care they would want before they were faced with a healthcare crisis,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president/CEO, in a press release Monday.

You can’t start thinking about end-of-life healthcare too early! The sooner you’re able to approach this “taboo” with your loved ones, the more time you’ll have to discuss your needs and theirs.

Advance directives allow you to document your end-of-life wishes in the event that you are terminally ill or critically injured and unable to talk or communicate. Help ensure your loved ones and healthcare providers know how to honor your care decisions by filling out these important documents today.

The importance of these issues came to light as the nation responded to the recent violent events at the Boston Marathon. Schumacher took the opportunity to remind us of that in his response to the events: “It’s … an important time to take an extra moment to tell those near to us that we love them.”

NHPCO’s Caring Connections offers free information on advance care planning, including state-specific advance directive forms at People also can call the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898.

Do you have a loved one who can speak for you if the need arises?

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