National Health Care Decisions Day is Approaching

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is recognized on April 16 each year. Its purpose is to inspire, educate and empower the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning. The NHDD initiative encourages patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare. It also encourages providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. NHDD was founded in 2008 to provide concise, clear and consistent information on healthcare decision-making to both the public and providers. The widespread availability and dissemination of simple, free, and uniform materials and content to guide folks through the process.

It is ironic and sad that NHDD will occur this year during a global pandemic. As a result, during this unprecedented time of social distancing and other mitigation measures, many live NHDD-related events have been cancelled. Advance care planning remains as important as ever. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis serves as a reminder of the importance of doing advance planning should you ever be stricken with an illness or medical condition that could render you incapable of making an important decision about your own healthcare.

An Advance Health Care Directive is a document that allows you to appoint a person, or group of people, to be able to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. This document can be written so that you are still in control of your health care decisions for as long as you are able, even by blinking your eyes, to make informed healthcare decisions. It also allows you to tell your medical providers who they are allowed to consult if you are unconscious or incapacitated.

It is important to ensure that your healthcare documents include evidence of your wishes for end-of-life treatment or living will provisions. If you were in a vegetative state and your physician determines that there is no realistic hope of a recovery, would you want to receive artificial nutrition (tube feeding) to keep you alive as long as possible? Would you rather receive comfort measures and be allowed to pass away naturally? You are in control of all these decisions, and these documents allow you to give a written record of your wishes now to ensure they are respected, even if you are not able to express them in the future. 

At Van Dyck Law Group, we assist clients in developing Health Care Powers of Attorney, as well as numerous other types legal documents and advance planning. We are a full-service elder law firm that specializes helping our clients prepare for their second half of life, and we remain open and in remote operation to serve our clients during the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, call 609-580-1044. We help you plan for life ahead.