Discuss Health Care Decisions Sooner Than Later

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Each year in mid-April families are encouraged to have the often-difficult conversation with their loved ones about health care decision-making. National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16, isn’t a day you hear about often, but putting your wishes in writing is one of the most important things you can do.

“Decisions around advance directives, living wills and naming a health care power of attorney are so important,” said Dr. Ryan Jennings, chief medical officer at HSHS Holy Family Hospital. “Decisions made now can help ensure you get the medical care you want and ease the burden on your family.”

National Healthcare Decisions Day was founded in 2008 to encourage families to discuss health care decision-making sooner, rather than later. The day reminds families to make end-of-life health care decisions known.

“Many conversations may start with your family and lead to a discussion with your doctor,” Dr. Jennings said. “Those beginning steps will ensure your wishes and those of your loved ones are expressed and respected, as well as followed.”

Some topics to discuss are:

Naming a power of attorney for health care.

How you want to be cared for (quality of life).

Religious practices or limitations.

Who can access to your medical records.

For help in starting those discussions, visit theconversationproject.org/nhdd.

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