April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), a national initiative to educate the public about the value of advance care planning.
By encouraging early action, NHDD hopes to prompt you to have conversations about end-of-life care preferences in the comfort of your home with those you love, rather than in the hospital intensive care unit. A shared understanding of what matters most to you and yours can ease the weight of decision-making when the time comes and ensure that the wishes of those involved are expressed and respected through an advance directive.
Starting that conversation might be a challenge. A national 2018 survey by The Conversation Project found that 90% of people say talking with loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but that only 30% had actually done so.
If you need help taking the first step toward a conversation, it’s easy to find resources through NHDD and The Conversation Project.
They recommend approaching it in steps:
1 Get Ready
Identify particular concerns or what you need to do to be comfortable.
2 Get Set
Finish this sentence: What matters to me at the end of life is …
Identify who you want to talk to, and what you want to say.
4 Keep Going
Clarify details if needed and complete important legal documents like a durable power of attorney for health care (health proxy), and an advance directive.