On April 15, Americans will file their taxes. April 16, following Benjamin Franklin’s saying, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” is a day for health care decision planning. Each year, National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is observed the day after tax day. NHDD is a day of education and awareness, aimed at encouraging adults to create an advance health care plan.
Every adult is at risk of being unable to make health care decisions. An advance health care directive is the document that helps an adult name someone to make health care decisions when the person cannot do so. In addition to creating planning documents, this is a good time to think and talk about the different kinds of health care and treatment one wants and does not want. Meaningful conversations about health care values generally lead to higher quality health care decisions and reduce family stress when a health care crisis arises.
Aging and legal service providers are urged to create community events for NHDD. Ideas for community events can be found on the website for National Healthcare Decisions Day. The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging provides free resources on health care decision making laws and advance health care planning.
The following resources were recently updated:
- Federal Bills Addressing Advanced Illness, Advance Care Planning, and Family Caregiving 115th Congress (as of March 9, 2018)
- Links to State-Specific Advance Directive Forms, free resources which include downloadable forms and information from state bar associations and other reputable state groups (January 2018)
- State Health Care Power of Attorney Statutes: Selected Characteristics, this January 2018 update provides a state-by-state overview
- Default Surrogate Consent Statutes (January 2018)
From: The National Center on Law and Elder Rights. The National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER) empowers aging and legal professionals with the tools and resources they need to provide older clients and consumers with high-quality legal assistance in areas of critical importance to their independence, health, and financial security. https://ncler.acl.gov/