National Healthcare Decisions Day
April 20, 2015
April 15 marks the day we complete the annual tradition of paying our taxes. This year, take the time to celebrate April 16 as well – National Healthcare Decisions Day.
National Healthcare Decisions Day marks the day that we at Summit Place Financial Advisors, and many other participating organizations encourage everyone to express their wishes regarding healthcare with their family. No one likes to talk about bad things, and finding yourself in the hospital after trauma or with a terminal disease ranks right up there with the worst possible dinner conversations. However, it’s important that if you do find yourself in this position, you have made your wishes known and have done some advance care planning. Specifically, your wishes need to be expressed through advance directives, which come in two parts: a living will and a healthcare power of attorney.
A living will clearly communicates with your healthcare provider what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want in the event of a debilitating trauma. It also provides an opportunity to express the quality of life measures you value. For many of us, being able to communicate, by both expressing and understanding, would be imperative. Others might include feeding, grooming or even being able to “flush” by yourself.
A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”) identifies the person who can step in to make your healthcare decisions. This appointment takes effect when your doctor determines that you lack the ability or capacity to make your own health care decisions. This person then must help enforce your living will and always act in your best interest, diligently trying to follow any health care wishes you’ve expressed.
A website has been created with fantastic resources and tools to assist you in creating these documents. Visit www.nhdd.org, spread the word and take the time to begin the conversation.