Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed April 16, 2018, as Healthcare Decisions Day in Washington. The day recognizes the need for and efforts to encourage individuals to discuss and record choices ahead of time regarding future medical treatment — known as advance care planning — and to have those wishes honored.
Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest (PNW), a joint initiative between the Washington State Hospital Association and the Washington State Medical Association, is part of a national effort to spotlight the importance of advance care planning on April 16, National Healthcare Decisions Day.
Inspiring conversations about the care people want at the end of life, Honoring Choices PNW helps to inform the public on available treatment options and supports health care organizations and community groups in discussing, recording and honoring the expressed wishes of individuals on their choices for care should they be unable to speak for themselves. Honoring Choices PNW’s vision is that everyone will receive care that honors personal values and goals at the end of life.
“Advance care planning is for all adults over 18,” said Joanne Roberts, MD, MHA, chair of the Honoring Choices PNW Advisory Council and an administrative physician at Providence St. Joseph Health who specializes in hospice and palliative care medicine. “Whatever your level of health, it’s important to consider what is important to you and what future health care decisions you would want. Then, you can write them down in an advance directive, which can be used to guide care if you are not able to make those decisions. It’s also critical to share your preferences with anyone who would be at that bedside — friends, family, loved ones and providers — so they will know and can honor your wishes.”
Advance directives are forms that allow individuals to name a person to make medical decisions for them if they cannot; state values, goals and preferences; and select specific treatment options. Completing an advance directive and discussing it with the named decision-maker and loved ones better ensures personal choices can be honored.
Honoring Choices PNW partners with 26 organizations throughout Washington state, and many have local events to promote National Healthcare Decisions Day. Additional information can be found at Honoring Choices PNW’s website (www.honoringchoicespnw.org), which includes a free advance directive to download and videos explaining advance care planning.
For additional information about the national efforts around National Healthcare Decisions Day, visit www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org.