National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD)

Just one month to go.  National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) 2015 will be April 16th, the day after “tax day.”

Here are the core concepts about NHDD:

  • NHDD’s core purpose:  NHDD exists “to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.”  These are the two target audiences, and this event is about the entire process of advance care planning (not just the narrow act of executing documents).
  • 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. 
  • Lead by Example is Critical:  Combining the above items and recognizing that not a single recipient of this message is immune from the potential need for 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 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. You must 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.
  • Spread the Word: Promote your activities far and wide.  Use e-news, print news, twitter (#NHDD), Facebook
  • NHDD Needs Your Help to Grow.  Help recruit other participants.  It’s easy by clicking here.

Here is a link to a recent webinar that was put together by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, addressing the origins of NHDD, engagement ideas, and social media strategies:  

Many providers across the Commonwealth participate to varying degrees in promoting advance planning on National Healthcare Decisions Day.  If you would like to plan an advance decisions event in your facility, you may find ideas at