April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

multi-generational family

What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes? Would your family and/or caregivers instinctively know and honor your wishes?  

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and to avoid confusion later on.  But it is also important that you talk to your loved ones and health care providers about your wishes.  
Advance directives come in two main forms:
  • A "healthcare power of attorney" (or "proxy" or "agent" or "surrogate") documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
  • A "living will" documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.
Whether you're looking for a way to talk to your family about your wishes, or you are searching for the correct forms, there are many resources to help you get started. 

Resources to help you talk about your wishes for end of life care with family, friends, and healthcare providers

National Healthcare Decisions Day: National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. The theme for 2016 is "It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late." 

AARP: AARP features an End-of-Life Planning resource center with perspectives on starting advance care planning discussions, facilitating discussions with adult children about end of life planning, frequently asked questions and considerations for siblings planning care for parents. 

The Conversation Project: encourages Americans to host a dinner party - breaking bread and taboos - to discuss their end of life wishes.

Death over Dinner: ready for that dinner party? This website will help you plan it, down to the invites and homework assignments for each guest. The site's planning tool includes carefully curated written and audio/visual materials that will help you and your dinner guests have a productive conversation.

Hospice of Cincinnati/Conversations of a LifetimeLearn to talk about the end of life. Conversations of a Lifetime is Hospice’s grassroots community engagement campaign that includes tips and tools to start the conversation and resources for taking action.  

Help with Advance Directive forms 

Pro Seniors: Complete Advance Directive kits for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana

Choices:Living Well at the End of Life: A complete advance directives kit for Ohio residents compiled by the Midwest Care Alliance.  The kit is available to download and print, or you can request a copy by mail.  The site also includes a series of FAQs and a webinar about Advance Directives. 

American Hospital Association: Put it in Writing Questions and Answers on Advance Directives

Aging with Dignity: The Five Wishes document helps individuals express care options and preferences. The advance directive meets the legal requirements in most states and is available in 20 languages for a nominal fee.

American Bar Association Advance Care Planning Toolkit

MyDirectives.com/ADVault, Inc.MyDirectives.com, a service of ADVault, Inc., is a free online platform that allows consumers to digitize your voices and treatment priorities in a comprehensive legal advance care plan that is secure in the cloud and available 24/7 anywhere in the world to you, your loved ones and your medical providers. MyDirectives also features a Discussion Guide and Conversation Starters to help people have discussions with doctors, family and healthcare agents. The new MyDirectives MOBILE App makes users’ emergency advance care plans accessible even when their iPhones are locked.


Visit our Resource Dircectory for additional information on end-of-life planning, advance directives, and other legal assistance and resources