Healthcare Decisions for Caregivers and Patients

National Healthcare Decision Day

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-by Melissa DelaCalzada

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16. Healthcare providers across the country are joining together to empower Americans in making future healthcare decisions known to family, friends and their healthcare providers. Now is a great time to share your wishes and complete your advance directive, because…YOUR DECISIONS MATTER.

What is an advance directive?

All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they were unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are. Advance directives come in two main forms:

  1. A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or “surrogate”) documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
  2. A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

What is POLST – Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment?

POLST is a physician’s order that outlines a plan of care reflecting the patient’s wishes concerning care at life’s end. The POLST form is voluntary and is intended to:

  1. Help you and your health care professional discuss and develop plans to reflect your wishes, and
  2. Assist physicians, nurses, health care facilities, and emergency personnel to honor your wishes for life-sustaining treatment.

Make your future healthcare decisions known today! Download an Advanced Directive Form online or obtain a form from your doctor. Learn more about advance directives and healthcare decision making by visiting the National Healthcare Decisions Day Website.

Being a healthcare advocate for yourself or for those you care for will help in making informed decisions surrounding healthcare choices.

Written by mdelacalzada

Communications Executive, Social Media Aficionado, Caregiver Advocate. Currently serves as the Executive Director of Communications and Public Relations at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine, a non-profit community-owned healthcare organization since 1977.


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  2. [...] social worker and talked about the various tools that can help with advance care planning such as advance directives (also known as the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) and POLST, as well as ways to [...]

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