NHDD is April 16

By: Randi Siegel

“Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes,” - Benjamin Franklin

With Mr. Franklin’s words in mind, it’s only fitting that April 16, the day after “Tax Day,” is also the date of the fifth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). Founded in 2008, this grassroots initiative is committed to raising public awareness about the importance of advance directives and advance care planning. Since its inception, NHDD has gained momentum and helped keep the national spotlight on this important cause.

There are many ways you can contribute to this worthy endeavor and even benefit your firm, too. None of them are as time-intensive as you may think.

As you’re more than well aware, thinking about being sick, disabled, or near the end of life is an activity that most folks look to avoid. NHDD is another tool in our community tool box that we can use to raise the subject of advance care planning.

    • Lead by example: Make sure your family and your staff’s advance directives are up to date. And if you (or they) haven't signed one yet, now's the time to do it!
    • Talk with your loved ones about your own wishes, and theirs. Creating advance directives is only half the job. Actually SHARING thoughts with family is just as important to them carrying out your wishes,and feeling good about doing so. (Studies even show this.)  
    • Encourage your clients to talk with their loved ones about their wishes, too.
    • Start planning NOW for how to use NHDD to your professional advantage. Take a quick inventory (a Google search will do) of the NHDD activities and media coverage in your community on and around April 16.  
    • Find existing NHDD activities where you could volunteer to be a speaker next year.  
      • Connect with a reporter or blogger who's written about NHDD this month, and offer to be a legal resource for this person.  
      • Consider writing an NHDD follow-up article or op-ed  for your local newspaper. The topic could be "Questions now that you've started thinking about your healthcare decisions" or "Things to consider when choosing your health care agent" (see my guest blog post for more on this). If you currently enroll your clients in DocuBank, you can visit our Provider Resource Center for some sample materials. The NHDD website also has an op-ed for general use and other resources that will help.

April 4, 2012 | NHDD (Nat'l Healthcare Decisions Day)