2.4 min readPublished On: April 1, 2024

April is National Healthcare Decisions Month

Making your end-of-life healthcare wishes known is a win for everyone involved in your care. That’s why during National Healthcare Decisions Month, healthcare organizations across the country highlight the importance of having advance directives, with April 16 celebrated as National Healthcare Decisions Day. 

This is a national program designed to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning by completing your advance directives. Making your healthcare decisions a priority is important and what better time than during National Healthcare Decisions Month.

 Advance directives are legal documents that include a living will or a durable power of attorney for healthcare, also known as a healthcare proxy. Either document allows you to give directions about your future medical care; think of it as a road map for your family and doctors. It’s your right to accept or refuse prolonged medical care if you have a serious, sometimes terminal illness. Advance directives can protect this right if you ever become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes due to an injury or illness. By law, the decision belongs to the patient – make your wishes known to your family, healthcare providers and caregivers; it can be changed or updated at any time.

An advance directive can be as simple as a two-page Living Will or as lengthy as the Five Wishes, a detailed user-friendly booklet. In Florida, an advance directive requires neither an attorney nor a notary, just the writer’s signature and that of two witnesses.

Just as preparing a will is optimal when we are of sound mind and body so is advance care planning. Talking with your loved ones about what you want to happen should you not be able to speak for yourself and identifying who you want to speak for you is a gift that only you can provide. Having advance directives in place provide peace of mind and avoids burdening families, wondering what loved ones would have wanted during a medical emergency or crisis.

Advance directives are available to download at no charge at www.hospiceofmarion.org.

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