Alexandria, VA (NHPCO) April 12, 2017
It is the 10th Anniversary of National Healthcare Decisions Day – a movement to encourage people across the U.S. to learn more about advance care planning. In honor of NHDD, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is thrilled to release a new video, “The Gift of Advance Care Planning,” that aims to educate and inspire people to have vital advance care planning conversations with their loved ones before a crisis occurs.
In the video viewers meet Michael and Liz Sampair, a California couple who have been married for 18 months. Michael was diagnosed with prostate cancer eight years ago and is well-versed on the importance of advance care planning. He has had vital conversations with his family and documented his wishes and healthcare preferences to ensure that his loved ones will not be faced with unnecessary burdens that can occur when important issues are unaddressed.
“Advance care planning is a gift that we can give to our families to let them know what we would like should we become ill, terminally ill, or disabled to the point where we are unable to express our desires,” says President and CEO of The Elizabeth Hospice and NHPCO Board Chair Jan Jones.
Starting the advance care planning conversation with family can be the most difficult part of the process.
“It doesn’t matter who starts the conversation,” says Liz Sampair. “It’s a gift that removes the burden of uncertainty for some members of a family and then puts a clear line of responsibility for those who are the decision makers.”
“Make it a conversation about wishes,” says President and CEO of NHPCO Edo Banach. “It should be intergenerational – children having conversations with their parents and grandparents and vice versa.”
Advance care planning includes completing an advance directive (also known as a living will) and appointing a healthcare power of attorney (someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself). NHPCO’s CaringInfo has free, state-specific advance directive forms and information on advance care planning that can be downloaded from its website CaringInfo.org. Each state’s advance directive is legally reviewed on an annual basis and meets each state’s statutory requirements.
NHPCO extends its appreciation to Legal & General America for a grant to create this video and raise awareness of advance care planning.