National Healthcare Decisions Day

To the editor:

National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.

April 16, 2016 is set aside as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) to promote and educate people to “Have the Talk” with your physician and your family about your health care wishes, in the event you are unable to speak for yourself. We encourage all people age 18 and older to have these discussions. Who would you want to make decisions on your behalf and what are your wishes?

A key goal of NHDD is to simplify healthcare decision-making and make the topic of advance care planning with your physician and family. NHDD helps people understand that advance healthcare decision-making includes much more than health care directives document itself; it is a process that should focus first on conversation and choosing a health care agents.

What is the difference between advance care planning and a health care directive?

Advance care planning is a conversation that takes place between loved ones on end-of-life are wishes and preferences. It is a process that identifies what is most important to you concerning quality of life and living. There is no “right” or “wrong” in advance care planning. Your decisions and values are simply your preferences for end-of-life care.

A health care directive is a written document that explains what care would look like if you were unable to make health decisions for yourself. Your directive appoints a person (Health Care Agent) to make health care decisions on your behalf when you cannot. This document is an important part of your medical record.

Sleepy Eye Medical Center encourages you to spend this week having important discussions with your family and stopping by your health care provider for a copy of a Health Care Directive to start the process; to start the conversation.

Sources of additional information and printable Health Care Directive forms to complete:

Cindy Steffl

Sleepy Eye Medical Center