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April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day


April 15 is tax day, but the next day is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). It was founded by Nathan A Kottkamp, a healthcare attorney, who is also the chair of the grassroots effort to promote advance care planning and healthcare decision making. This day was chosen in a nod to Benjamin Franklin and his adage “Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes." Yesterday, April 15th, was tax day here in the United States.

On Thursday, more than 75 national organizations, plus 660 state and local organizations, will have teams at hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, doctor's offices and even libraries to explain the benefits of advance directives. Those who wish will be assisted in writing / signing living wills and other medical directives. The services are free.

It is not only important to discuss these end of life issues with our loved ones and our medical care givers, but it is also important to occasionally review our decisions and make changes to them as necessary.

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Kotthamp is quoted as saying "No one likes to think about the possibility of a life-threatening injury or disease, but the simple act of creating an advance directive can turn out to be an incredible gift for loved ones in the event of an accident or severe illness. No matter where you live, you can fill out an advance directive without hiring a lawyer. It's easy to do and is free."

The National Healthcare Decisions Day website has some great resources about advance directives and how to get one.

Arkansas Advance Directive; Planning for Important Healthcare Decisions (pdf file)

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD website)