Hospice of the Western Reserve Supports National Healthcare Decisions Day
Hospice of the Western Reserve, along with other national, state and community organizations, is highlighting the importance of advance healthcare decision-making, an effort that culminates in the designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). National studies show nearly 90 percent of adults agree that talking to family and doctors about their preferences for end-of-life care is important, yet only one-third have had such conversations.

Sarah Blowers, a nurse practitioner for Hospice of the Western Reserve, frequently works with individuals and families to help them have conversations about healthcare goals, personal values and preferences.

“Making decisions about the care you want to receive if you should become unable to speak for yourself is appropriate for adults at any age,” she said. “Anyone can be involved in a serious accident or develop an illness that leaves them unable to communicate for themselves. If this should happen, who will speak for you? It’s important to tell family, friends and healthcare providers what your wishes are.”

Blowers stressed that whenever possible, it’s best to plan and document choices before a healthcare crisis occurs. “It takes thought, emotional readiness and time to sort out the options,” she added. “It’s best to take time and have a series of conversations. Sharing choices through conversation is an important first step. In the long run, these discussions will be the greatest gift you can give to those you love. It will give them the confidence to act knowingly on your behalf and provide the comfort of knowing that your wishes will be honored.”

Hospice of the Western Reserve is providing community resources to help individuals have conversations and document their preferences by completing written advance directives. In Ohio, advance directives include Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will forms. A free downloadable workbook called Courage in Conversation, is available at hospicewr.org/decisions. The booklet includes planning worksheets and all the legal documents required by the State of Ohio. Several free public educational presentations are also planned in the Northern Ohio region. A list of the free public seminars, along with information about how to RSVP, are available on the website or by calling 216.430.0955.