National Healthcare Decisions Day
by Brigid Fernandez, St. Louis
Tuesday, April 16th marks the 6th Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). The goal of National Healthcare Decisions Day is to inspire, educate and empower the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning. The NHDD initiative encourages people to name a healthcare agent and to express their wishes regarding their healthcare and to have providers and facilities respect these wishes.
In previous years, attorneys across the state organized and volunteered their time and talent on NHDD. In Springfield, in conjunction with the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, Elder Law Committee members volunteered their time to educate and inspire the Springfield community on the importance of healthcare planning.
In Jefferson City, attorneys with the Cole County Bar Association staffed a table at the local public library providing information about advance directives and offered the opportunity for interested persons to complete their advance directive. In the greater St. Louis area, along with the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, attorneys volunteered their time at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities and libraries.
For the first time, last year, The Missouri Bar Board of Governors approved our efforts and agreed to publicize NHDD on their website and in their publications. We are asking The Missouri Bar for continued endorsement and support in publicizing the event for 2013.
Here’s how you can join the efforts:
- Partner with your community library, church, assisted living facility or senior citizen center to set up a table with space for you to display and provide information about advance healthcare decision-making and an opportunity to execute documents;
- Distribute NHDD promotional materials and advance care planning educational brochures at community events or health fairs;
- Provide information about NHDD and your involvement on your firm website; and
- Contact local media (newspapers, TV, and radio) and encourage them to write an article about NHDD and advance healthcare planning.
The newly revised Missouri Bar Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Health Care Directive form is available for your use on April 16. For tips on how to get started raising awareness in your community, you can visit the NHDD website at www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org or contact me at 314-962-0186.
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