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National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Caring Connections and Google Health Offer New Way to Access Advance Directives Online
Date:7/16/2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ensuring that one's healthcare wishes are known and will be honored in the event of a healthcare crisis is what advance care planning is all about. Today, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Caring Connections, a leading provider of advance care planning information, and Google Health(TM) have come together to increase the availability and accessibility of advance care planning information and resources online.

Advance directives, also known as living wills and healthcare power of attorney forms, allow an individual to express their wishes if they are in a medical crisis and unable to communicate. These documents provide specific information to healthcare professionals and can help guide family caregivers called upon to make decisions on behalf of someone who is not able to speak for themselves.

"How can medical professionals honor your healthcare wishes and preferences if they don't know what they are?" said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO. "Advance directives are useless unless they are available during emergency healthcare situations. Google Health will make these documents accessible online and will eliminate a huge barrier of access during times of need."

A new feature on Google Health enables users to download a free, state-specific advance directive and store the scanned documents securely online. This will help overcome a common barrier in emergency healthcare situations, where it can be difficult to access a patient's advance directive.

Google Health is a secure, online Personal Health Record (PHR) that allows consumers to store, organize, and share important healthcare information. Google chose to work with Caring Connections because they are the only provider that offers free, state-specific, online advance directives. In the past three years, Caring Connections has distributed more than 2.5 million advance directive forms. They also provide information to help people understand advance care planning and begin conversations with family and healthcare professionals.

The process to store an advance directive form in Google Health is easy:

  1. Go to your Google Health account at www.google.com/health, or create a new account if you don't have one already.
  2. Download and print the advance directive form for your state at www.caringinfo.org/googlehealth.
  3. Complete the form and sign it.
  4. Scan the signed document and upload it to your Google Health account.

By taking time to do these simple steps, you are making your healthcare wishes available to those who may need them in a time of crisis. Not only is this an important step to take for your own well-being but it's a gift for your family members and loved ones who may need to act on your behalf.

    Contact:
    Jon Radulovic
    NHPCO
    Ph: 703-837-3139
    jradulovic@nhpco.org
    www.CaringInfo.org

Caring Connections is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.


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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
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