National Healthcare Decisions Day

National Healthcare Decisions Day educates and empowers the public and healthcare providers to take part in important advance care planning.

Emphasizing the spotlight on the importance of advance directives, National Healthcare Decisions Day, is a collaborative effort of national, state and community organizations. Together these entities work to ensure that the information, opportunity and access needed to document health care decisions is available to all decision-making capable adult citizens of United States.

Advance directive is a general term that refers to your verbal and written instructions about your medical care in the future, should you be unable to speak for yourself. Each state has its own law governing the use of advance directives. There are two types of advance directives: living will and durable power of attorney for health care.

Though this is a difficult topic to discuss, it is often helpful for you to make plans long before decisions need to be made. Making these arrangements and decisions before you are very ill can insure that your wishes are clear and followed. It also helps family members when they know your wishes in advance.

Adult patients, over 18 years of age, who are admitted for an overnight stay at Audubon County Memorial Hospital & Clinics can anticipate being asked if they have an advance directive. If you have an advance directive, you should bring a copy of it with you when you come to the hospital. As long as you are able to communicate your own decisions, your advance directives will not be used and you can accept or reject any medical treatment.

A living will puts your wishes about medical care at the end of life, into a written statement. Each state dictates when a living will goes into effect and can limit the treatments to which the living will applies. A person’s right to accept or reject treatment is protected by both federal and state laws.

A durable power of attorney for health care is a document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions for you. In many states, the person you appoint through a durable power of attorney for health care is authorized to speak for you anytime you are unable to make you own medical decisions, not only at the end of life.

Copies of Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney forms are available on the Audubon County Memorial Hospital & Clinics website at under “Patients and Visitors.”