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2nd Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day Builds on Growing Awareness of Advance Care Planning
Date:4/16/2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Since the inaugural National Healthcare Decisions Day held April 16, 2008, more than one million advance directive forms have been requested from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Caring Connections program. Today, the 2nd Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, all people regardless of age or current health are reminded of the importance of making their healthcare wishes known to loved ones and their care providers.

This year, over 80 national organizations and no less than 700 state and community organizations will be increasing awareness of advance care planning and educating their communities about the importance of making healthcare decisions by hosting events to mark the 2nd Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day.

NHDD is a grassroots effort to promote advance care planning and healthcare decision making. All Americans are encouraged to voice their wishes and take steps to ensure that their choices are known and protected. The process does not take long and it is free.

"I am so proud of the response to our grassroots effort to raise awareness of healthcare planning," said Nathan A. Kottkamp, chair of the National Healthcare Decision Day initiative. "We have twice the number of organizations and coalitions hosting events this April 16. National, state and community organizations have embraced this call to action to help Americans understand the importance of making and documenting healthcare decisions."

An advance directive is a legal document that tells healthcare providers who it is that you wish to make medical decisions for you and what treatments you would want or not want, if you are ever not able to tell care providers what you would want in a medical emergency or life-limiting illness.

"Over the past year, the number of people who have actively sought out information about making their wishes known and then have taken the steps to request an advance directive form has been remarkable," said Kathy Brandt, vice president of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and a member of the NHDD executive committee. "Just as important as putting this information into peoples' hands is making sure they complete the directives and take time to talk about their wishes with their loved ones and healthcare provides."

National Healthcare Decisions Day is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare through conversations and the completion of advance directives. NHDD is also working with providers and facilities to ensure that individual wishes are respected, whatever they may be.

Individuals and organizations interested in learning more about National Healthcare Decisions Day and advance care planning are encouraged to visit www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org. Information is also available via email at nhdd@nhpco.org or by calling the Caring Connections HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898.

    Media Contact: 
    Nathan A. Kottkamp
    NHDD Project Chair
    Ph: 804-775-1092 

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is providing administrative and communications support for the NHDD initiative.


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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
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