April 16, 2008 Designated National Healthcare Decisions Day

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National HealthCare Decision Day 2008


The American Nurses Association (ANA) will join Americans across the country to talk about your future healthcare decisions.

On this day, throughout the country, healthcare providers, professionals, chaplains, attorneys, and others will participate in a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making. All ANA members should consider what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves.

To facilitate this process, initiative organizers will provide clear, concise, and consistent information and tools for the public to execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and/or living will) in accordance with their applicable state laws. These resources will be available at NHDD web site (see link below).

Although several states have engaged in advance directives awareness events and numerous organizations have devoted substantial time and money to improving education about advance healthcare planning, only a small minority of Americans have executed an advance directive. National Healthcare Decisions Day seeks to address this issue by focusing attention on advance healthcare planning from a variety of directions simultaneously.
“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more Americans can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Nathan A. Kottkamp, chair of the National Healthcare Decision Day initiative. “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient; and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

The following national organizations have already committed to participating in this event by encouraging their members and chapters to engage in various education initiatives on National Healthcare Decisions Day:

  • AARP
  • Administration on Aging Aging with Dignity
  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
  • American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
  • American Health Care Association
  • American Health Decisions
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • American Hospital Association
  • American Medical Directors Association
  • American Nurses Association
  • Association of Professional Chaplains
  • American Society of Directors of Volunteer Services
  • Catholic Health Association of the United States
  • Center for Medicare Advocacy
  • Center for Practical Bioethics
  • Center for Social Gerontology
  • Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life
  • Federation of American Hospitals
  • Financial Planning Association
  • McGuireWoods, LLP
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • National Association of Catholic Chaplains
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Association on Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
  • National POLST Paradigm Initiative Task Force
  • The Hastings Center

Coordinators are being recruited to develop networks in each state to encourage and support local activities and outreach. Organizations and coalitions interested in participating are encouraged to register by e-mailing nhdd@nhpco.org or call 1-800-658-8898.

The National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) Initiative is a collaborative effort of national, state and community organizations 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.