Sunday, April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day
| Posted On Apr 06, 2017 | By: Atrius Health
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. The theme for 2017 is “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.”
According to a national survey done by The Conversation Project in 2013, 90% of people say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, yet only 27% have actually done so.
NHDD provides the opportunity for you to start to think about questions such as:
- Who would you like to make decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to?
- Where do you want (or not want) to receive care such as at home, a nursing facility or a hospital?
- Are there kinds of treatments you would want (or not want)?
- When would it be okay to shift from a focus on curative care to a focus on comfort care alone?
It may seem like a lot to think about, but sharing your wishes for end-of-life medical care with loved ones, caregivers and your healthcare provider will help guide those who care about you during that difficult time.
There are plenty of resources available to help you learn more how to get the conversation started and make your wishes known:
- The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. Starting with a conversation, it helps create a shared understanding of what is most important to you, not just focusing on medical decisions. Read more from The Conversation Project about how to talk to your healthcare provider about your wishes and the type of care you would want.
- The NHDD website is resource-rich in providing education and information about advance directives and how to approach the planning and recording of your preferences for your care.
- Aging with Dignity highlights Five Wishes, a document which helps you think about your personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as your medical wishes.
- The American Bar Association has compiled a helpful guide that defines what a healthcare proxy is and how to legally designate someone to represent you and your end-of-life wishes.
- The Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care is comprised of more than 60 Massachusetts-based organizations who have come together to ensure that health care for everyone in Massachusetts is in accordance with their goals, values and preferences at all stages of life and in all steps of their care.
- CaringInfo offers free, state-specific advance directives for all 50 states and DC that meet the legal requirements for each state.
- Engage with Grace has created simple, clear tools to guide you and your loved ones through this conversation so that all aspects of your wishes can be revealed.
Some of our practice locations will be hosting events that are open to the public during the month of April:
- Harvard Vanguard Beverly will be recognizing National Healthcare Decisions Day on Tuesday, April 18th from 9am – 11 am by hosting a table in their waiting room staffed by representatives from Senior Care and North Shore Elder Services who will discuss choosing an agent to be your health care proxy.
- Harvard Vanguard Watertown will be hosting a health fair on Wednesday, April 19th from 11am – 1 pm which will feature an informational discussion with Dr. Richard Bail (starting at 11am) as well as tables where you can complete an advance care directive, get information about hospice and palliative care, talk with representatives from VNA Care about their services, and more.