National Healthcare Decisions Day

April 16th, the 7th Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, is less than a month away.  

  • NHDD’s core purpose:  NHDD exists to educate the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.
  • Advance Care Planning is for Everyone: Studies suggest that roughly 70% of us will be unable to make decisions for ourselves at some point in our lives—this is why advance care planning is so important.  And, it is not just important for the elderly or those with severe illness.  Health crises can happen to anyone at any time.  Keep in mind that Nancy Cruzan, Karen Anne Quinlan and Terri Schiavo were all in their 20s when their health crises occurred.
  • We Have a LONG Way to Go: Studies suggest that no more than a third of all American adults have an advance care plan in writing.  Combining this fact with the one above demonstrates the importance of this issue.  If you are interested in an end goal, it is that every community will be like La Crosse, WI, where roughly 97% of residents have an advance care plan.  Check out the recent NPR piece on this.
  • Lead by Example is Critical: Combining the above two items and recognizing that not a single recipient of this message is immune from the potential need for an advance care plan makes it all the more important that we all lead by example.  It is imperative that you have your own advance care plan in place so that you can understand what the process is all about as you encourage others to do the same.
  • NHDD is Grassroots and Flexible: NHDD is really just a rallying event.  It depends on all of you to make it successful.  To that end, NHDD has no required form of participation, and it doesn’t require you to do anything differently than you already do.  The point is for all of us to emphasize our on-going activities in unison so that we can drive some behavioral change.  For various resources to facilitate your efforts, please click here.
  • Don’t be Daunted by Holy Week this Year: NHDD falls during both Christian and Jewish Holy Weeks this year.  Look at this fact as an opportunity for people to engage in advance care planning discussions while they are gathered with their families.  These conversations should not ruin the holidays; instead, they may make them more special.
  • Spread the Word: Promote your activities far and wide.  Use e-news, print news, twitter (#NHDD), Facebook  
  • NHDD Needs Your Help to Grow: We need you to help recruit participants.  It’s easy by clicking here.
  • NHDD Needs Donations As Well: NHDD proudly operates on a shoestring budget, but we still need donations to keep the website live and to provide other resources.  Please make a gift to support the initiative

Nathan A. Kottkamp, a lawyer at McGuireWoods in Richmond, is Chair of the National Healthcare Decisions Day Initiative.  

Click here for more information.