National Healthcare Decisions Day April 16, 2011
Americans like to plan birthday parties and anniversaries, but we are not as interested in planning how we want to spend the last days of our lives. Now is the best time to think about these important issues.
Making, documenting, and communicating these important decisions beforehand relieves family of the burden of making important decisions under stress.
J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, along with other national, state and community organizations, are leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16, 2011, as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). As a participating organization, J.C. Blair is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Pennsylvania state laws.
Advance directives come mainly in two forms:
• A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or surrogate”) names the person designated to voice your heathcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
• “Living will” documents describe the kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital encourages everyone, to discuss with family members the benefits of completing advance directives while they are in good health.
“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said J.C. Blair Social Worker Tim Reimer. “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. 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.”
For more information about National Healthcare Decision Day, please visit www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org.
For more information or assistance with drafting your advance directives, please call the J.C. Blair Social Services Department at (814) 643-8657.