National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16th.  (I Wish it was Every Day!)

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16.  It was created to educate the public about the importance of planning for a medical crisis ahead of time and to encourage adults to put their wishes in writing by creating a health care proxy.
I could talk about the importance of this document for hours (in the past, I have!).  A health care proxy allows you to name a person you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make or communicate your wishes on your own, whether from dementia or from simply being debilitated in the moment.  This trusted person is called your health care “agent.”
If you don’t have a health care proxy, your loved ones will be forced to make difficult decisions about your care in an emergency without having any idea of what you would want.  Not only does this make an already stressful situation even worse for everyone involved, it often leads to infighting among family members over what medical procedures should (and should not) be provided in a serious illness care situation.
Some people ask me about a living will, which allows you to specify the medical procedures you do and do not want in a serious illness care situation.  These are not legally binding documents in Massachusetts, and therefore our office does not produce them.  However, you can, and should, express these wishes to your agent, your physician, and your loved ones – share what matters most with the people who matter most.  There are different tools out there to help you define and convey what matters most, such as The Conversation ProjectHonoring Choices, and Go Wish.
If you don’t have a health care proxy, please, get one as soon as possible.  As always, I’m here to help.
Until next time, take care….