Living Well: National Health Care Decisions Day
Day to recognize the importance of advanced healthcare discussion
By Leslie Stillin Schmidt
Ministry Health Care
It is often taken for granted that when medical decisions need to be made, we will be able to make them for ourselves, yet many times loved ones will be asked to make those decisions for us.
Ministry Health Care, along with other national, state and community organizations, is leading an effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).
As a participating organization, Ministry Health Care is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare clinicians, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Wisconsin state laws.
Talking about your health care wishes may not be easy, but it will help your family understand what is important to you. It gives you a chance to share your health care wishes with your family and your clinicians. As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known.
Power of Attorney for Health Care, Living Will/Declaration to Physicians and Community Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order and Bracelet are the most common forms of written instructions that state wishes about future health care decisions.
These documents guide your physicians and loved ones in the event you cannot make health care decisions for yourself. An Advance Directive makes sure that your beliefs and wishes are known.
Ministry Health Care offers information on Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives at ministryhealth.org, additional information is available at nhdd.org
Leslie Stilin Schmidt is an Ethics Fellow with Ministry Health Care.