Every year on April 16, the day after Tax-Day, National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is held to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” It’s no coincidence it’s connected to tax-day. You know the old saying – In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes (Ben Franklin). The mission of NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes whatever they may be.
NHDD was started in 2008 by Nathan Kottkamp- an attorney who wanted to get decision making information out to the public and providers. He made available easy, free, and consistent tools to help the process. It emphasizes not only the importance of creating an advance directive, but it also emphasizes the importance of the conversation around what matters most to someone and sharing that information with an agent- someone to speak on your behalf if you are not able to express your own healthcare wishes.
In 2016, NHDD fell under the structure of The Conversation Project, an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The Conversion Projects goal is “to help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected.” They believe that this conversation should take place with people who matter most to you around the kitchen table instead of in the ICU.
South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SADHO) pledged to participate in this year’s event. We are encouraging all SDAHO members to host some kind of Advance Care Planning event at your organization or with another organization in your community. Over the next few weeks, we will provide you with resources and ideas to help you plan an event. Stay tuned.