National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), celebrated as a week-long event this year from April 16-22, encourages all adults with decision-making capacity in the U.S. to educate themselves, as well as communicate and document their healthcare wishes and decisions.
"This year's NHDD theme is, 'It always seems too early until it's too late.' It is especially fitting because unexpected life events can happen at any age, so it's important to let your preferences be known to reduce confusion or disagreements about your care if you are unable to communicate," affirms Shelly Welch, Chief Clinical Officer of North Oaks Health System. "We encourage everyone to start the conversation with his or her loved ones and physicians."
According to a 2013 national survey sourced by The Conversation Project, 90 percent of adults believe it's important to talk about how they would like to be cared for if faced with a life-limiting condition, but only 27 percent have expressed their wishes to their families, friends and physicians.
Welch adds, "A shared understanding about what matters most to you can help make decisions that you and your family may face."