National Health Care Decisions Day
Making healthcare decisions is an exercise in self-care, and it is an exercise in love. “I have an advance directive not because I have a terminal illness but because I have a family,” said the physician Ida Byock.
National Healthcare Decisions Day is coming up on April 16. NHDD “exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. 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.”
The first and most important thing to know about directives is that before you encourage someone else to do them (like an aging parent or a friend), you should lead by example and have your own directives in place.
Why do people need advanced directives?
You have a right to decide what happens to your body. Just because you cannot speak for yourself in a particular situation doesn’t mean you have to forfeit that right.
Advanced directives also make it easier for your healthcare proxy to make a good decision on your behalf.
If you are involved in an emergency situation and cannot speak for yourself, the people close to you will be under a great deal of stress. Advance directives appoint one person to make the decisions and give them clear guidelines. It gives them greater peace of mind and frees them to focus on spending time with you instead of dealing with more paperwork.
As people age, they often have clearer ideas about what constitutes quality of life. They may want less invasive care and intervention. There are many forms of advance directives, though not all of them are legally binding. It’s important to know which ones will work in an emergency. This is where an attorney can help.
Completing your advanced directives means more than just filling out a form. It means making sure you also have a system in place so the documents can be used when they’re needed most, especially in an emergency. As we often say, “Use a belt and suspenders!”
Have your Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will completed and notarized.
Keep the originals somewhere safe and accessible if they’re needed.
Bring them to your primary care doctor and local hospital to keep them on file.
Upload the documents to a service such as DocuBank that gives you access to them 24/7.
This National Healthcare Decisions Day, we want you to start the conversation with someone you love! Tell them what you want for your own healthcare wishes, and ask them to express their wishes. They don’t have to tell you personally, and if they feel more comfortable, a good attorney can help them keep it confidential, legal, and more importantly, working when you need it.
As much as we hope you’ll never need your directives, they are easy to create and if they’re needed, highly useful.
Give us a call if you still need to create your healthcare decisions: 970-879-1572.