As the old saying goes – you can’t escape two things: death and taxes. Each April, the IRS gently reminds us to confront the tax issue, but how many of us prepare for the inevitable experience of death? Unfortunately, death is a subject many people are uncomfortable facing, and too many people leave their family and friends agonizing about what interventions they would want or not want to be used.
The deadline for filing your taxes with the IRS is April 15. On Thursday, April 16, we invite you to take the next important step and think about your future health care decisions if faced with serious illness or possible death.
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice, along with other national, state and community organizations, is 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 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).
NHDD organizers are asking interested individuals throughout the country to help raise awareness about the importance of advance care planning on this special day—and throughout the year. To help realize this goal, they have created a Web site with information and tools for the public to talk about future healthcare decisions and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living wills) in accordance with their applicable state laws.
The Web site (nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org) also includes tips on how advocates can raise awareness in their communities. Here are some of the ways you can help this important cause:
• First and foremost, lead by example…be sure you have thoughtfully considered and made your own healthcare decisions known.
• Next, make sure everyone in your family is informed about NHDD and ask for their involvement to promote NHDD in your community.
• Provide a link on your social pages to nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org. It features a variety of information for the public and providers on advance care planning.
• Partner with your community library to set up a display highlighting books about advance healthcare decision-making and use NHDD promotional resources.