Today, April 16, 2013, is National Healthcare Decision Day (NHDD); a collaborative initiative started in 2008 to raise awareness and highlight the importance of advanced care planning. The program encourages patients to document their advanced care wishes and put in place a framework for care that can be used if they are no longer able to voice their personal decisions.
Included in the events for today are various rallies and panels around to country, designed to educate and mobilize state and local organizations, healthcare providers, and other key stakeholders. The NHDD initiative is focused on making sure that all adults with decision making capacities have the information and opportunities needed to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.
The initiative hosts a website, www.nationalhealthcaredecisionday.org or www.nhdd.org, with information and resources that individuals can use to help ensure that any future care is within their wishes. According to that website, 90% of Americans have heard of a living will, 71% of Americans have thought about their end of life preferences, but only 29% of Americans currently have a living will.
Advanced directives are also an area of focus in NAHAM’s recently released CMS Toolkit, available to members here. Along with issues like charity care and patient abuse, advanced directives are a topic that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published guidelines on.
For information on today’s events, you can visit the NHDD Facebook page here.