For Immediate Release: 04/13/2010
Americans like to plan birthday parties and anniversaries, but we are not as interested in planning how we want to spend the last days of our lives. Now is the best time to think about these important issues.
Making, documenting, and communicating these important decisions beforehand relieves family of the burden of making important decisions under stress.
April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD)—a day to raise awareness of the need to discuss the use of "Advance Directives" with your loved ones and healthcare provider. We have provided an introduction to the basics below:
What are they?
Advance directives come mainly in two forms:
- A "healthcare power of attorney" (or "proxy" or "agent" or "surrogate") names the person designated to voice your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
- "Living will" documents describe the kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
We encourage everyone, including our employees and enrollees, to discuss with family members the benefits of completing advance directives while they are in good health.
We urge health care providers to take the initiative and use their knowledge, experience and personal relationship with patients to introduce this sensitive topic and discuss related issues. We invite network facilities, governing bodies, ethics committees and facility clinical, quality and patient safety offices to review their internal policies and guidance that encourage patients to complete advance directives and make a renewed effort to educate staff and patients.
You can learn more about advance directives, and the national effort to raise awareness by visiting the NHDD website. If you wish to participate, visit the website and become a member. You will find educational materials and tools to organize your community.
Please direct questions about HCA's participation in National Healthcare Decision Day to Dr. Nancy Fisher. Dr. Fisher is HCA’s Medical Director and NHDD representative.
Thank you for spreading the word about National Healthcare Decision Day!