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Your Decisions Matter. Take Control with Advance Care Planning

April 16, 2014
9:15 am

Every year in April there is a day specifically set aside to discuss advance planning.  National Healthcare Decisions Day – today, April 16 — focuses on educating individuals on the importance of developing power –of-attorney legal documents for healthcare decisions and creating advance directives, or living wills.  Advance directives identify values and preferences that can direct healthcare professionals regarding critical care decisions in the event individuals are unable to speak for themselves. These instructions only go into effect if an individual is no longer able to make their own  decisions.

The Healthcare Leadership Council is a partner in the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), a nonprofit organization that has conducted consumer research on advance planning and care for serious illness. Their Call to Action supports best practices that ensure coordinated care, empowering people to make informed choices for themselves and educating healthcare professionals to assist their patients with advance planning. They provide resources for care advocates and family caregivers as well as educators and providers.

We urge people to pay attention to the messages of National Healthcare Decisions Day and engage in their own difficult, but essential, conversations about end-of-life wishes.  It’s important for those who are knowledgeable about healthcare and health policy to lead by example and emphasize the importance of thoughtful decisionmaking about possible eventualities.  Changes in health and well-being are unplanned and uncontrollable, so it’s important to take some measure of control with advance care planning.

For more information on National Healthcare Decisions Day, please visit www.nhdd.org.

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