Studies indicate that most Americans have not made decisions about their healthcare in the event that they cannot speak for themselves – only 29% have a living will.
The National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) initiative is a collaborative effort of national, state and community organisations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the USA have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.
The annual campaign encourages people to think about:
- which medical treatments they would want
- what is meaningful to them, ie being at home, with family etc
- who they would want to make decisions for them about their care if they cannot communicate.
People are also encouraged to talk to their family, record their wishes and get a wallet card that names their ‘substitute decision maker’.
Organisations are taking part in NHDD, such as DeathWise, a non-profit group which is holding a special 24-hour online event called Get It Done! which aims to help as many people as possible complete an advance directive.
NHDD provides a number of resources that organisations can use to help educate the public about the importance of advance care planning.