Imagine you’re in a medical emergency and unable to speak for yourself. Who will speak for you? Who will make your health care decisions? How will you make your wishes known?
A situation similar to this could happen to you or a loved one. Trying to answer these questions under the stress of an emergency or end-of-life situation can cause doubt and worry for you or your family. You can easily answer these questions and better plan for the unexpected by preparing written advance directives – also known as a health care power of attorney and a living will.
A health care power of attorney documents the person you select to be your voice for your health care decisions if you can’t speak for yourself. A living will documents the kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want for end-of-life care. Simply put, it’s a way for you, the patient, to offer guidance to your family and health care provider on the care you want to receive even if you’re unable to communicate.
Now is a good time to make these decisions because April 16, 2016, is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). NHDD is a nationwide public awareness campaign highlighting the importance of advance health care planning. While end-of-life care is normally the focus on advance health care planning, it also lets you document your wishes for any event in which you can’t speak for yourself.
According to NHDD, 90% of Americans have heard of a living will, and 71% have thought about their end-of-life preferences. However, only 29% have a living will. State specific resources are available online through National Healthcare Decisions Day.
Be sure your voice will be heard long after you’re unable to speak for yourself. Start the conversation today by visiting nhdd.org.