Thinking about what would be important to you in a medical crisis and making your wishes known to loved ones is what National Healthcare Decisions Day is all about – regardless of age or health status. Advance directives are best dictated before a family faces an end-of-life situation.
Today, April 16, is National Healthcare Decisions Day. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) stresses the importance of patients and families talking frankly about the care they would or would not want if ever faced with a serious medical condition or life-limiting illness.
NHPCO, along with other national, state, and community organizations, is raising awareness of the importance of advance healthcare decision making. This includes completing an advance directive (also known as a living will) and appointing a healthcare power of attorney (someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself). However, equally important are the conversations with family and loved ones about healthcare preferences and choices.
“On a daily basis, hospice and palliative care providers witness families who have benefited from talking about their loved one’s wishes at life’s end and also see how challenging it can be when those conversations never happened,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “For those who have taken the time to have thoughtful conversations – often long before a serious illness might be an issue – there can be much reassurance and comfort in knowing what is important to a loved one.”
“You should not assume that your doctor or even your close family members know what your healthcare priorities are. Some people facing a life-limiting illness would want to avail themselves of all possible treatments while others would choose to focus on quality of life, seeking hospice and palliative care services,” Schumacher added.
Click the link to learn more about National Healthcare Decision Day.
It’s the conversation no one is terribly eager to have, but it’s so vital. We never know when life will change in a flash. Don’t let discomfort with the topic keep you from letting your loved ones know your preferences.
Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about advance directives won’t make you dead – and your family will benefit from the conversation.