Healthcare Decisions Day: ‘Advance directive’ is how you say ‘my way’

April 11, 2014 | by

Few decisions are more important than those involving health care, and few decisions can have such lasting impact, not only on oneself but on relatives and loved ones.

advance directives for health care

Advance directives for health care let you make your wishes known, while you're able to do so. If you haven't done so already, National Healthcare Decisions Day is the perfect time to do it.

Those choices, especially, should be made in advance – carefully, deliberately, free of pain and stress, and with much weighing of values and priorities. That’s the purpose of National Healthcare Decisions Day, to help people make those decisions while they’re still able to do so and then to make their wishes, or directives, known.

The alternative is, ultimately, to force distraught loved ones and well-meaning health care workers to guess at what the incapacitated you would have wanted. They don’t always get it right.

So on Wednesday, April 16, observe National Healthcare Decisions Day by assessing your values, deciding on the kind of care that you want and choosing your own way. That means creating your own advance care directives.

City of Hope will be offering information and resources on advance care planning that day in the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. Our own observation of National Healthcare Decisions Day will provide consultations with advance planning experts, free notary services for advance directives and demonstrations of the GoWish Game, which is designed to spark conversation about the type of care you want.

Here are some individual perspectives on why you should take part in the observance, either here or on your own:

  • Because my decisions matter. – Jan G., colon cancer survivor
  • Because my quality of life matters. – Patrice M., leukemia survivor
  • Because it is my right. – Judy P., breast and ovarian cancer survivor
  • Because I want to understand what you wish so I can deliver the care you want. – Dawn M. Gross, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Supportive Care Medicine
  • Because I truly want to know what it is that you and your family want and value. – Lucille Leong, M.D., clinical professor of medical oncology
  • Because I value your decisions, your partnership, your voice. – David Horak, M.D., chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Ultimately, “advance care directives” is another way of saying “my way.” On National Healthcare Decisions Day, make your way known.

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Learn more about advance directives, the Sheri & Les Biller Family and Patient Resource Center, and the City of Hope observation of National Healthcare Decisions Day.