The COVID-19 crisis has heightened the awareness of mortality for all of us, not just the elderly or people with underlying conditions. April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day created to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. It is a reminder to make or update our healthcare wishes, our Advance Care Plans, for the end of life.
Advance Care Planning is a process of reflection, documentation and deep discussion of treatment preferences in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. This planning involves the completion of your advance directives, most commonly a living will and the appointment of a Power of Attorney to act as your health-care decision-maker. This will help ensure that providers honor your wishes for end-of-life care if you cannot speak for yourself.
Compassion & Choices is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to the expansion of end-of-life planning and options. Free online resources, including the End of Life Decision Guide and COVID-19 Toolkit, available in English and Spanish, and the Dementia Directive, are available at www.compassionandchoices.org. These simple tools can help people open up these difficult yet important conversations about their end-of-life wishes with family, friends and health-care providers.