Thursday, April 12, 2012
Yes it is that time of year again. If the weather is starting to get nice and there are a few storms coming through your area it must be Spring and that means Taxes right? Well yes there is April 15th where we have to pay our taxes. But more importantly to the hospice and palliative medicine community is National Healthcare Decisions Day (US) and National Advance Care Planning Day (Canada) on Monday April 16th.
2012 marks the 5th year of NHDD, an initiative spearheaded by Nathan Kottkamp, a partner at McGuire Woods law firm in Virginia. He is living proof of the famous Margaret Mead quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
I have had the pleasure of working with Nathan in 2011 on NHDD and I strongly support this great initiative which should be thoroughly embraced by the all of us. It speaks to our professional values and gives us a day where we can freely talk about advanced care planning without any sense of taboo feeling of the lingering spectre of death. This is an empowering event that emphasizes "Your Decisions Matter"
There are many simple ways you can participate and the NHDD website is a great resource. If you haven't planned anything for the public you could just focus your efforts on your friends and family. Or maybe your whole hospice office could make sure everyone has completed their advanced care planning. Or you can participate in the blog rally on Monday and use your social media platforms to spread the message. And you can have fun with it like these medical students did in their Star Wars themed Advanced Care Planning Video.
Most of all don't be hypocritical. If you are going to encourage everyone to complete it, take the first step and do it yourself. If you can't convince yourself to complete your advance care plan then how well will you be able to advocate for others.