One month until National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16

Categories: Community Engagement.

It’s only one month until National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16.  Many hospice and palliative care organizations use NHDD to raise awareness of advance care planning and the importance of making one’s healthcare wishes known to family and care providers. This can be a valuable opportunity to engage with local media or the broader community on this topic.

The team at NHDD shares information to help those who plan to engage in this important outreach event.

Keep using the Theme
Lots of organizations have found success with “It always seems too early, until it’s too late.

Open Enrollment and Advance Care Planning
For many employers, open enrollment occurs in the fall.  With the focus on healthcare generally, why not urge people to think about advance care planning?  It’s a very logical time to do it.

Continuity of Care
When I attend ethics meetings and other functions where multiple providers are present, I repeatedly hear about trouble locating advance directives in patient records, particularly electronic health records.  Therefore, please ask yourself if you’re a healthcare provider, would you be able to find an advance care document in your patient’s chart easily?  Could you pull up an advance directive from a previous admission?  Are you taking advantage of a registry of some sort?  If you cannot answer YES to all of these, please consider pushing for procedural changes to make advance care planning documents more accessible.

Let’s Get Going
To ensure a successful NHDD, now is the time to start ramping up.  Here’s a sampling of how you can help and what you can do:

  • Be sure NHDD is on your calendar. If you have a schedule conflict, please use NHDD (4/16) to promote your NHDD activities on whatever date you hold them. Of course, feel free to engage in week-long or month-long events/activities. Furthermore, feel free to have events earlier and tell participants to use NHDD as their action date to have the talk with loved ones and put wishes in writing.
  • National organizations: inform your state/local chapters about NHDD and encourage participation (i.e., highlight NHDD in emails, newsletters, monthly print magazines, etc.). A variety of free templates and sample communication materials can be found on the NHDD website.
  • Local/state organizations and providers: be sure your peers and referral sources are involved and that any national organizations in which you participate are also involved.
  • Spread the word online:
    • “Like” NHDD on Facebook. Facebook is a great way to spread the word, particularly among those who may not have routine exposure to the topic. We’re currently at just over of 5,000 “likes” and “follows.”  Let’s see if we can exceed 6,000 by April 16.
    • Follow NHDD on Twitter (@NHDD and use the tag #NHDD). We got #NHDD on the Twitter trending list once before-let’s do it again! Also, start a discussions on LinkedIn.
    • Put a link to on your social media/networking outlets and website. Help us reach out to those who haven’t heard about NHDD.
    • Be creative about who else should be involved. Advance healthcare planning is something that should be discussed in colleges, religious institutions, civic/service organizations, and elsewhere. Tell others about your NHDD experience and encourage participation/activities throughout the community.

Help NHDD Grow
To sustain and grow NHDD, we need more participants.  Please think about who would be a good candidate to join the initiative and invite them to join.  As always, participation in NHDD is free, and it serves as a great way to get your name out in your community, to collaborate with others, and do some real good.  Please encourage others to confirm participation at

Resources from
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s consumer website,, offers information on advance care planning as well as free, state-specific advance directive forms. Those looking for information to share should visit the website.

NHPCO offers the video below that shares the value of advance care planning.


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