The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is encouraging Americans to use National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16, as an opportunity to pause and think about their health care wishes and to take action to make sure their wishes are known, even if they unable to direct their own care.
National Healthcare Decisions Day is recognized each year on April 16 – the day after the date traditionally known as tax day – as a way to engage the American public in conversations that encourage people to think about their own personal wishes for their health care, particularly at the end of life, with the goal of getting people to plan ahead, document those plans, and let loved ones know their wishes.
NHPCO President and CEO, Edo Banach, said, “Hospice and palliative care providers always put patients at the center of the care plan. National Healthcare Decisions Day gives everyone a reminder to do that for themselves: put yourself at the center and think about your own health care wishes. That way, if your loved ones ever need to direct your care, they will know what you want because your voice has already been heard.”
Banach continued, “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of people into caregiving roles they never imagined for themselves. Making decisions for a loved one who is not able to do it for themselves can be agonizing. Take time now to think through the possible scenarios and make your wishes known to those who care about you most. And remember, we have a lot of resources for caregivers and care planning – including Advance Directives forms for every U.S. state – on our CaringInfo.org website.”
Advance care planning includes completing an Advance Directive (also known as a living will) and appointing a Health Care Power of Attorney (someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself). Then, most importantly, sharing your decisions with your family and loved ones.
NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org has free resources that include:
- Free downloadable state-specific Advance Directive forms
- Information on advance care planning
- Links to digital Advance Directive services
- Tips for talking about your care wishes