​National Healthcare Decisions Day

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. Each year, this day is set aside to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.

How much time and effort do you put into finding and buying gifts for your loved ones? Birthdays and holidays roll around each year and we carefully choose the perfect cards and presents to show how much we care. We buy cakes and flowers and make reservations at favorite restaurants.

Demonstrating our love with thoughtful gestures is wonderful, but what if you could give a priceless gift that costs nothing? By completing your Advance Directives and making your healthcare choices now, you can give your loved ones the gift of peace of mind. If you become ill, your healthcare decisions are clear and they can speak for you in confidence, knowing they are doing the right thing. And if you never need a Healthcare Power of Attorney or a Living Will, the documents will never go into effect.

Make National Healthcare Decision Day another gift-giving holiday by speaking with your loved ones about your healthcare choices and completing the documents.

All adults can benefit from this national initiative of 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. There are two primary forms of advance directives:

  • A "healthcare power of attorney"(or "proxy, "agent," "surrogate") documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
  • A "living will" documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

From the experts:

An advance directive can be made at any time in your life. These directives can give you and your loved ones peace of mind, help prevent questions, confusion, and disagreements among family members. A qualified plan can advise health care providers to what your choices are if you are unable to speak for yourself and can prevent unnecessary medical expenses for treatment, hospital stays, and nursing homes.

Employers can play a role in starting the conversation. Leading employers are beginning to recognize and address the impact terminal illnesses and end-of-life decision making have on their workforce.  Talk with family members about your living will or advance directive. Decide who will be responsible for making decisions if you cannot.


Need help? Download our booklet, Courage in Conversation. This booklet (También disponible en español) will take you through the importance of an advance directive and answer questions such as:

Who should I choose as my agent?
Where should I keep my advance directive?
How can I address organ donation in my advance directive?
What other documents do I need?
When can I change my advance directive?
How long is it effective?

It includes worksheets to help you prepare for the conversation (prognosis, quality of life, treatments and the end of the journey). It also includes a State of Ohio Living Will Declaration form, Donor Registry Enrollment Form (optional) and a State of Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney form.


Create an advance care plan - Center for Disease Control

"Who is Making Your Medical Decisions?" - President and CEO Bill Finn.

National Healthcare Decisions Day website.


Several free public educational presentations are planned in the Northern Ohio region. View them here.


Press Release