The idea that you or a loved one may one day be unable to make or communicate your decisions about your own health, well-being and care is understandably difficult to talk about, let alone think about.
During National Healthcare Decisions Week, however, you’re encouraged to talk openly with your family and friends about this serious topic and discuss the necessary choices that will need to be made should that day ever come, for you or them.
National Healthcare Decisions Week will take place from April 16 to April 22, and this year’s theme is once again “It always seems too early, until it’s too late.”
Throughout the week, you should be discussing advance directives, which are the easiest way to communicate your wishes if you are unable.
Advance directives come in two main forms. The first, healthcare power of attorney, empowers a designated person to make all the decisions, and this is the perfect time to have an open, honest conversation with the person you choose so that they are fully prepared to handle that responsibility. The second form, a living will, provides clear direction for which medical treatments you do or do not want if you can’t communicate.
These are difficult choices to make, regardless of who you’re making them with. So if you’re not sure where to begin, the National Healthcare Decisions Week website has broken down each day of the week into smaller, more manageable topics.
• Sunday, April 16: Prepare — A day to get your resources together
• Monday, April 17: Start with Yourself — A day to think about your own decisions
• Tuesday, April 18: Family/Friends/Loved Ones — A day to discuss your wishes and learn the
wishes of others
• Wednesday, April 19: Spread the Word — A day to encourage others to have conversations about
• Thursday, April 20: Facilities Focus — A day to discover advance-care planning services from
• Friday, April 21: Professionals Preparedness — A day to ensure your chosen professional services
(healthcare, clergy, legal, etc.) will be able to manage your advance-care plans
• Saturday, April 22: Reflection and Readiness — A day to look back on your week and file/share
your advance-care plans so they will be available if they’re needed
Visit NHDD.org to learn more about the importance of talking about and making these decisions. This is your opportunity to ensure that you or your loved ones are cared for in the manner you or they prefer.