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National Healthcare Decisions Day 2019

End-of-life conversations before the end of life

At the end of life, people find comfort in following their loved one’s wishes, but few people plan ahead or talk about their decisions with their families so, as April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, be sure to take a moment today to learn how.

Arguably, making end-of-life decisions for oneself is easier than talking about these choices with your loved ones and health care providers; what good are these decisions if they haven’t been heard by those who ensure your wishes are carried out? According to a 2018 survey conducted by The Conversation Project, an initiative to help guide these conversations, 92% of people believe it is important to talk with their loved ones about their end-of-life decisions. This same study showed that only 32% of people had actually done so. Clearly, there is a level of discomfort when it comes to talking about end-of-life topics.

The Conversation Project offers resources on how to have the conversation with your family and healthcare providers. These guidelines suggest when to have the conversation, whom to include, how to choose (and be) a medical proxy, how informed you would like your loved ones to be, how involved you would like for your doctor to be, and even how much you wish to know about a terminal illness from your doctor, as not everyone wants to hear about the nitty-gritty.

As a result, The Conversation Project deemed April 16 National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day of decision-making and talking about these choices. “NHDD seeks to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” These resources are here to teach people about advanced care planning, medical proxies, and talking with your doctor and family about these decisions. Take the pledge to plan ahead today; go to www.nhdd.org for guidelines and more information.
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