April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. This national effort focuses advance directives and end-of-life planning efforts that go on in hospitals every day into one day of education and awareness.
The goal is simple – to have every hospital, community center, nursing home, newspaper, church and others help the public better understand advance directives and health care decisions so we can demystify the topic and improve the numbers of people with advance directives. This includes hospital staff members, who may “lead by example” and make sure their own health care wishes are known.
Nothing elaborate is required, simply participation. Some examples include:
- Hospital-sponsored employee workshops to help nurses, physicians and others talk to patients and families about advance directives.
- Hospital-sponsored workshops to help employees understand the benefit to them and their families of having advance directives.
- Working with local libraries, providing free advance directives documents available for families.
- Free advance planning community seminars in cooperation with local law firms providing lawyers on site to help individuals and families draft or complete necessary forms.
- Set up a table in the lobby with information for visitors and staff on advance directives and related materials.
We encourage you to visit www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org for information and resources including advance directives by state, posters, a PowerPoint presentation and a list of others participating. Information on advance directives is also available on the SCHA website, https://www.scha.org/shared-decision-making, including Frequently Asked Questions on advance directives and advance directives available in South Carolina.
And don’t forget the AHA resources available to you at www.putitinwriting.org. There is a free, downloadable brochure of frequently asked questions as well as both 15 and 30 second radio public service announcements. Both of these resources are available in Spanish and English.
Celebrate National Healthcare Decisions Day this April.