Tag Archives: National Healthcare Decisions Day

The D-Word (Don’t Be Afraid To Say It)


Death. It is a reality we all will experience.

But when a person faces a serious medical condition, we may be reluctant to speak the words “death” and “dying.”

Dr. Edward Bruera of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston says that one reason families don’t want to talk about death is the fear that doing so will destroy a patient’s hopes of surviving. (His thoughts were shared recently via the Houston Chronicle.)

Dr. Bruera suggests that we should think of end-of-life planning as “smart decision making.” When you buy a car, you purchase insurance. You wear a seat belt. You lock the car when you park it. You hope for the best. But if things don’t go well, you have prepared for the worst.

“When we normalize [talk about dying],” Bruera said, “and realize that we all need to make some preparations and plans, it lifts a weight from the shoulders of patients and families. Most of the time, patients find these conversations reassuring, and that’s gratifying to us.”

Have you spoken to your spouse, your children, your parents or other loved ones about end-of-life care? Do you want to die at home surrounded by loved ones? Would you prefer that medical teams do everything possible to keep you alive?

Have you selected an individual to speak for you and make end-of-life decisions for you if you are unable to make them? Have you made your end-of-life care wishes known through a living will?

This Thursday, April 16, is National Healthcare Decisions Day. It’s a day whose purpose is to encourage Americans to make their wishes known via advance directives (living wills and medical power of attorney designations).

Hope Hospice team members will be at two area Walgreen’s locations on Thursday, April 16, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to answer questions about advance directives and to share forms and other printed material with visitors. Those Walgreen’s locations are 13992 Manchester in west St. Louis county and at 519 South Truman Boulevard in Festus.

(photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50965924@N00/16262956505 via http://photopin.com, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)





Make Your Choices Known On April 16


National Healthcare Decisions Day is Thursday, April 16, a day to think about advance planning for your life and the lives of your loved ones. But wait, you say, everybody’s healthy and nobody’s facing any sort of health crisis. Great! That makes now a perfect time to think about all those relevant questions.

If you haven’t personally experienced the pressure of making a difficult decision regarding a family member’s treatment, you may know someone who has. Family discussions can be marked by heated comments and can lead to personal upset and family discord.

You can spare your family this painful experience by deciding now, when your mind is clear, the types of actions you would prefer to be taken on your behalf. One form of advance directive is a living will in which a person specifies what actions should be taken if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.

Another form of advance directive allows you to assign a “durable power of attorney” designation to your spouse, partner, child or other family member or friend. This authorizes another person to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.

By issuing advance directives, you have the ability to guide healthcare providers and loved ones regarding what you want. Advance directives give you the ability to spell out the types of healthcare you want and do not want and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.

The living will is to be used only if a person has become unable to give consent or refusal. A living will can be very specific or very general. A living will that you establish now can be updated and revised at a later date, if you choose.

National Healthcare Decisions Day was begun by an attorney in Richmond, Virginia in 2008. In metro St. Louis, several healthcare organizations and elder law firms will participate this year. For information click HERE.

Hope Hospice will host informational events for National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16 at two area Walgreen’s pharmacy locations: 13992 Manchester in West County and 519 S. Truman Boulevard in Festus. Hope Hospice team members will be at each location from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., answering questions about advance directives and providing printed information and forms.

The Missouri Attorney General’s website has forms and guidance for making these important decisions. Go online to ago.mo.gov, click on “publications” and “life choices” to download these materials. In Illinois, go to dph.illinois.gov and click on “forms and publications” for materials.

As the video at the top of this post (which also appears on the National Healthcare Decisions Day website) asks, “Who will speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself?” The video also instructs, “Make sure your voice is heard.” Make those decisions now. You may not be able to make them later.

For answers to your questions about advance directives or hospice care, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.


National Healthcare Decisions Day 2014

Wednesday, April 16, marks the 7th annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. The event was started by an elder law attorney in Richmond to call attention to the need for all of us to make important choices now.

This year Hope Hospice will present Informational Events on Wednesday, April 16, to share information about these decisions. The events will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 16 at Chesterfield Mall in the Food Court and at the Des Peres Schnucks grocery store.

Personnel from Hope Hospice will be at both locations to answer questions about Advance Directives. We will also have a representative from an elder law firm on hand at each location to answer basic questions about certain legal issues.

For those who have not considered issuing an Advance Directive, Hope Hospice will provide printed information and forms to those who visit our Informational Event.

For those who have given serious thought to these major life choices, Hope Hospice will provide forms that can be completed and notarized on site.

Many of us know friends and relatives who have had to make agonizing decisions regarding the healthcare of a loved one. In many cases, these decisions (and the conversations leading up to them) can lead to family discord and hard feelings.

We at Hope Hospice work to guide patients in making these (and other) important decisions as soon as they come on to our patient roll. When patients are not of sound mind and unable to make their choices known, family members may then be faced with tough decisions.

National Healthcare Decisions Day allows each of us to assert our own preferences for healthcare in the latter stages of our lives. We invite you to join us at Chesterfield Mall or the Des Peres Schnucks on April 16.

We also suggest you visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website. Click HERE to be linked to nhdd.org.

For more information about the event on April 16 or answers to general questions about hospice care, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.