National Healthcare Decisions Day – April 16, 2013

National Healthcare Decisions Day: April 16, 2013

NHDD exists to inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.

What is National Healthcare Decisions Day?

National Healthcare Decisions Day is a national initiative to encourage adults of all ages to plan ahead of a health crisis. Making decisions ahead of time and putting your wishes in writing brings peace of mind to families. It helps to avoid the difficult situations that are so common when a person becomes seriously ill and the family is left to guess what their loved one would have wanted. Another goal of this annual event is to encourage health care providers to discuss the topic with their patients.

Laughing Family

Informational Videos:

Promotional video:

Dealing with dying:

Overcoming Barriers to Difficult Conversations:

NHDD Impact Key Figures:

  • At least 1.4 million members of the general public participated in NHDD events and/or were known to have received advance directive information
  • Over 2.6 million geriatric care facility/organization staff members received NHDD/advance directive information or training
  • Over 4 million people were exposed to NHDD via various social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


Quotes on NHDD:

“On a daily basis, hospice and palliative care providers witness families who have benefited from talking about their loved one’s wishes at life’s end and also see how challenging it can be when those conversations never happened,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.  “For those who have taken the time to have thoughtful conversations – often long before a serious illness might be an issue – there can be much reassurance and comfort in knowing what is important to a loved one.”

“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 Nathan A. Kottkamp, NHDD founder and chair.

Federal Patient Self-Determination Act:

The Federal Patient Self-Determination Act requires that all Medicare-participating healthcare facilities inquire about and provide information to patients on Advance Directives; it also requires these facilities to provide community education on Advance Directives.

What is an Advance Directive?

All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they were unable to speak for themselves.  These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are.  Advance directives come in two main forms:

  • A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”) documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
  • A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

Download Free State Specific Advance Directives :


  • 42% of Americans have had a friend or relative suffer from a terminal illness or coma in the last five years and for a majority of these people and 23% of the general public, the issue of withholding life sustaining treatment came up.
  • An overwhelming majority of the public supports laws that give patients the right to decide whether they want to be kept alive through medical treatment.
  • By more than eight-to-one (84%-10%), the public approves of laws that let terminally ill patients make decisions about whether to be kept alive through medical treatment.
  • One of the most striking changes between 1990 and 2005 is the growth in the number of people who say they have a living will – up 17 points, from 12% in 1990 to 29% now.

All healthcare institutions are required to:

  • Provide information about healthcare decision-making rights
  • Ask all patients if they have an advance directive
  • Educate their staff and community about advance directives
  • Not discriminate against patients based on an advance directive status

Standing Family

NHDD Description:

How to get involved and resources to help you do so:

Also, you can call: (888) 5-WISHES to request free NHDD buttons and stickers.



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