May 21, 2024

Healt Hid

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National Health Care Decisions Day

3 min read

RALEIGH, N.C. — April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. The goal is to help people understand the importance of advance planning before a family crisis happens.


What You Need To Know

  • April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day
  • The goal is to help people understand the importance of advance planning before a family crisis happens
  • Experts say every adult needs an advance health care directive; this is a written plan so your wishes are known if a time comes when you cannot speak for yourself
  • Start by thinking about different treatments you do or do not want in a medical emergency, such as resuscitation


Raleigh financial professional Alex Sutherland with LifePlan Group said creating a plan to outline your decisions can give you peace of mind and ease your stress down the road.

“The aim is to get the conversation started among loved ones and empower us to outline our future health care decisions before we’re faced with a health crisis,” Sutherland explained.

Sutherland said many adult children don’t bring up finances, wills or advance care planning because they don’t think it’s any of their business.

“That sentiment couldn’t be more wrong! Take the initiative and start the conversation,” Sutherland said.

Sutherland said advance care planning is important. It’s a process that helps you think about and address your future health care decisions.

Here are three factors Sutherland said you should include in your plan:

Advance health care directive

“Every adult needs an advance health care directive; this is a written plan so your wishes are known if a time comes when you cannot speak for yourself. Start by thinking about different treatments you do or do not want in a medical emergency, such as resuscitation. Consider talking with your doctor about your family medical history and how your current health conditions might influence your health in the future,” Sutherland said.

Sutherland said your wishes need to be in writing, and the document should be updated as you get older or if your wishes change. If you make any changes, make sure your doctor has a copy of the updated document and inform your loved ones.

The forms and legal requirements are different for each state. Click this link to download these forms.

Powers of attorney

“A health care power of attorney is a legal document that empowers someone else to review your medical records and make decisions for you, such as how and where you should be treated. This person will potentially have to make difficult and sometimes emotional decisions about your medical care, so a close family friend or relative (who is not a spouse or child) may be the best choice,” Sutherland said.

A living will

“A living will is different from a will. This legal document covers specific medical treatments, such as resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, pain management, tube feeding and organ and tissue donation. It’s important to think about your values and the quality of life you desire when creating a living will,” Sutherland said.

Sutherland also says it’s important to review your advance health care directive with your doctor and your health care power of attorney to ensure all forms are filled out correctly. Give each party a copy, and keep a record of who has these forms.

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