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It begins with a conversation.

We can’t plan for everything. But we can talk about what is most important — in our lives and in our health care — with those who matter most.  National Healthcare Decisions Day exists each year to inspire, educate and empower individuals, the public, and providers about the importance of advance care planning.

April 9, 2021
Alicia Crandall

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is April 16th, 2021. NHDD serves as an annual reminder of the importance of talking with your loved ones about your health care wishes and documenting those wishes. An Advance Care Plan, when done correctly, is the result of a series of conversations with loved ones. It includes a designation of who you want to speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself. Once you have made that designation, it is important to draft a document that not only legally designates that person to speak for you, but more importantly, communicates your specific wishes, your values, and what is important to you. Your healthcare Power of Attorney/Advocate also needs to know what you would want under what circumstances. 

Some questions that will come up include:

  • Who would you want to speak for you if you couldn’t speak for yourself?
  • Under what circumstances would you want to be put on a ventilator?
  • When would you refuse?
  • Under what circumstances would you want to be taken off a ventilator?
  • Would you want to be put on unproven therapies?

If you are asked to make decisions for someone else, what will you want to know about the loved one’s wishes? National Healthcare Decisions Day is an annual initiative to encourage people to express their wishes regarding healthcare. It also encourages providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. 

For more information, visit The Conversation Project website. The website offers a Conversation Starter Guide as well as other helpful resources.

Interested in taking the next step? 

Missoula Aging Services is hosting a Virtual National Healthcare Decisions Day Workshop on Thursday, April 15, 2021 from 10-11:00 am MDT via Zoom.

The workshop will provide helpful information and resources to identify a proxy, select an Advance Directive and have thoughtful conversations with loved ones, friends, and providers about advance healthcare wishes.

Presented by Palliative Care Coordinator Brooklyn Crape, RN and Nicole Pfeifer, FNP with Providence Medical Group Palliative Care Team in Missoula, Montana. Moderated by Alicia Crandall, MAS Education Program Supervisor.

Click here to register online or contact Missoula Aging Services at (406) 728-7682 to register by phone. This opportunity is provided at no cost.