National Healthcare Decisions Day Date in the current year: April 16, 2024

National Healthcare Decisions Day National Healthcare Decisions Day is an annual observance held on April 16. It was created to inspire, educate and empower healthcare providers and the general public about the importance of advance care planning.

In 2008, Virginia-based healthcare lawyer Nathan Kottkamp came up with the idea of launching an awareness campaign in order to provide healthcare providers, facilities and the public with clear, concise, and consistent information on the process of healthcare decision-making, as well as to disseminate simple, free, and uniform tools to guide this process. That’s how National Healthcare Decision Day (NHDD) was created.

Over the past few years, NHDD has been managed by The Conversation Project, a public engagement initiative whose goal is to highlight the importance of the opportunity to express one’s wishes for end-of-life care and have them respected. Nathan Kottkamp continues to be involved in the campaign, providing his leadership and expertise.

The main goal of NHDD is to encourage patients to express their healthcare wishes and for their families and healthcare providers to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. Its organizers strive to dispel the myths about healthcare decision-making and emphasize the importance of advance care planning, which is so much more than simply drawing up a living will.

According to statistics, over 90% of Americans agree that it’s important to discuss their healthcare decisions, including their wishes for end-of-life care. However, only 32% of them have actually had such a conversation. Some people are reluctant to discuss such things because they don’t known how to approach the topic, while others feel like they don’t have enough information to make such decisions.

The Conversation Project and NHDD have been established to help people with this; their whole point is to ensure that all adults with decision-making capacity have access to information that enables them to communicate their healthcare decisions to their families and healthcare providers, as well as document their decisions should the need arise for their implementation.

NHDD events are organized by healthcare facilities across the country, as well as by other national, state and community organizations, including drugstores, libraries, places of worship (churches, synagogues, mosques), NGOs, and others. These events aim to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making; they are supported by a national media and public educational campaign.

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National Healthcare Decisions Day, holidays in the US, annual observances, The Conversation Project