National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.
Westmed encourages all adults 18+ to start a conversation by talking with your loved ones openly and honestly, before a medical crisis happens. Doing so gives everyone a shared understanding about what matters most to you in the event you are incapacitated and unable to make your own health care decisions. In addition to having the conversation, it’s important to choose a health care proxy – the person who will make decisions about your medical care if you become unable to make them for yourself.
After you’ve had the conversation with your loved ones, the next step is completing required paperwork to document your wishes.
Six Simple Steps to Participate in Healthcare Decisions Day:
- Have a conversation with loved ones
- Choose a Health Care Proxy (this person is also called a Health Care Agent or Power of Attorney for Health Care)
- Complete Health Care Proxy Forms in accordance with state requirements. You do not need a lawyer to fill out your health care proxy form.
- In New York State: the form needs to be witnessed
- In Connecticut: having a witness is optional, but strongly recommended
- Each state has specific forms and documentation requirements. Caring.org is a free resource with additional information and forms available in multiple languages.
- Provide a copy of your completed Health Care Proxy Forms to Westmed so they can be included in your medical record
- Complete an Authorization to Communicate Protected Health Information Form for Westmed . Click below to access the forms