Sunday, April 16 is just around the corner. It’s National Healthcare Decisions Day. You might be thinking “It’s too late for me to do anything about it now,” but that is not the case. You may not be able to pull together a flashy, large scale event but you can take the first step – the one that begins with YOU! Have you completed YOUR Advance Directive? Have you shared your healthcare wishes with your medical power of attorney and loved ones? Use NHDD to be the trigger to complete your OWN directive and model to your patients and family what should be done.
Or, if you have completed your directive and had a conversation, ask someone else if they have completed theirs. If you are a medical power of attorney for someone, ask them to have a conversation with you about what matters most to them if they are unable to speak for themselves during a serious illness or injury.
Below, are 10 action plans to consider from The Conversation Project at NHDD.org:
In 10 minutes or less, you could:
- Look at our Guide to Choosing a Health Care Proxy and think about who you may want as your health care proxy. A health care proxy is the one person you’d want to speak for you, and advocate for the care that’s right for you if you’re unable to speak for yourself.
- Watch this short Practice Makes Perfect video for tips on how to start a conversation about someone’s wishes for care through the end of life — your own wishes, or the wishes of someone you care about.
- Send our Guide to Being a Health Care Proxy to your chosen proxy. Invite them for a tea, coffee, or video chat to talk about the guide and discuss what matters most to you.
- Browse the Conversation Starter Guide to help you think about what you want to talk about with your proxy.
- Reach out to any other people who you might want to know about who you’ve chosen as your health care proxy or what your wishes are. (That could include your doctor — take a look at our Guide for Talking with a Health Care Team.) For example:
- A woman in Hawaii chose one of her three adult children as her proxy. She talked with all of her children as well as her siblings about her decision.
- A man in Florida chose his wife as his proxy. He let his adult children from his previous marriage know that she would be the one to make decisions on his behalf. Later, when he couldn’t speak for himself, this helped avoid confusion.
- If you need more support thinking about what matters to you, walk through PREPARE for your Care for guided steps or 5 Wishes®, both can help get your wishes down on paper
- Ask three people you know if they’ve had the conversation. If they are interested, share information with them.
- Read a story from our blog, such as how Katy Butler’s family navigated health care decisions for her father, who had dementia.
- Connect with a leader or organization where you live, work, pray, or learn — such as your book group, employer, faith community, or professor —to see if they are interested in holding an event on this topic using our resources for communities.
- Follow The Conversation Project on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to learn more.
In preparation for NHDD, Michele Snyders, MSW, CSW-PIP, APHSW-C, the Hospice and Palliative Care Program Manager with SDAHO joined J.P. Skelly with KORN News Radio in Mitchell to talk about end-of-life decisions. Click Here to listen to the interview.