Today Is National Healthcare Decisions Day

 

National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. National Healthcare Decisions Day is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. 

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that:

  • Less than 50% of the severely or terminally ill patients studied had an advance directive in their medical record.
  • Only 12% of patients with an advance directive had received input from their physician in its development.
  • Between 65% and 76% of physicians whose patients had an advance directive were not aware that it existed.

The Pew Research Center found that:

  • 42% of Americans have had a friend or relative suffer from a terminal illness or coma in the last five years and for a majority of these people and 23% of the general public, the issue of withholding life sustaining treatment came up.
  • An overwhelming majority of the public supports laws that give patients the right to decide whether they want to be kept alive through medical treatment.
  • By more than 8-to-1 (84%-10%), the public approves of laws that let terminally ill patients make decisions about whether to be kept alive through medical treatment.
  • One of the most striking changes between 1990 and 2005 is the growth in the number of people who say they have a living will – up 17 points, from 12% in 1990 to 29% now.

All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. These decisions  can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what  they are. Download our brochure about Advance Directives and Long-Term Care.