National Healthcare Decisions Day is a week-long event taking place April 16-22, when people around the country will be talking about the importance of communicating and documenting their future health-care wishes and decisions.
Needless to say, this topic isn’t easy. We can just imagine a family dinner becoming awkward: “Will you please pass the green beans, Dad? Quite a basketball season, wasn’t it? So, what kind of medical treatment do you want if you can no longer speak for yourself?”
No matter our ages or our current health conditions, we need to take the plunge. We’ll be glad we did, and our loved ones will be, too.
Advance care planning invites us to think about the things that really matter to us in life and to share these with our loved ones. What kind of treatment do I want if I can no longer speak for myself? Who do I want to make medical decisions for me if I am no longer able to make them for myself? How comfortable do I want to be and where do I want to spend my last days?
The answers to these questions won’t look the same for everyone. Some people will want every possible form of life-support treatment to be used to delay their deaths. Others will desire a peaceful death at home, with appropriate medicine to relieve pain.
The main thing to remember is that your decisions matter.
To learn more National Heathcare Decisions Day and to get started making your own advance directives, visit www.nhdd.org
This post originally appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal’s Letter to the Editor.
— Lindley S. Curtis, MDiv, MSW
Lindley is a theologically trained social worker and coordinates support services at the Family House. To speak with Lindley for one-on-one support and information about resources in Winston-Salem and in your home community, call 336.793.2822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.