Saturday, February 9, 2008
National Healthcare Decisions Day will help Americans understand that making future healthcare decisions includes much more than deciding what care they would or would not want. It starts with expressing preferences, clarifying values, identifying care preferences, and selecting an agent to express healthcare decisions if patients are unable to speak for themselves.
The National Healthcare Decisions Day initiative is a collaborative effort of national, state, and community organizations, including the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.
For more information about National Healthcare Decisions Day go to http://www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org/get_involved.htm
All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are. Advance directives come in two main forms:
- A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or "surrogate”) documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
- A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
A number of organizations offer additional resources that provide clear, concise, and consistent information about advance
directives; how to obtain them; and how individuals and families can make important decisions before a serious illness.
For the list of resources and other useful links, go to: http://www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org/takeaction/