National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. The theme for 2017 is "It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late."
NHDD, an initiative of The Conversation Project, exists as a 50-state annual initiative to provide clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare decision-making to both the public and providers/facilities through the widespread availability and dissemination of simple, free, and uniform tools (not just forms) to guide the process. NHDD entails 50 independent, but coordinated, state and local events (necessitated by the difference in state laws and dynamics) supported by a national media and public education campaign.
In all respects, NHDD is inclusive and brings a variety of players in the larger healthcare/legal/religious community together to work on a common project, to the benefit of patients, families, and providers. NHDD is not prescriptive; it allows for and fosters creativity.
A key goal of NHDD is to demystify healthcare decision-making and make the topic of advance care planning inescapable. On NHDD, no one in the U.S. should be able to open a paper, watch TV, view the internet, see a physician or lawyer, or go to a healthcare facility without being confronted with the topic of advance care planning. Among other things, NHDD helps people understand that advance healthcare decision-making includes much more than living wills; it is a process that should focus first on conversation and choosing an agent.
As of June 2016, The Conversation Project has been responsible for the management, finances, and structure of NHDD. NHDD’s founder, Nathan Kottkamp, continues to be involved in NHDD and provides leadership by ensuring the maintenance of NHDD’s high quality resources and support for the community.
With the full power of The Conversation Project behind it, NHDD aims to expand its reach and boost the number of providers, hospitals, organizations, communities, and institutions that are currently involved. “The Conversation Project is the natural choice to take on National Healthcare Decisions Day because it’s closely aligned with NHDD’s mission and my own passion for this work,” says Kottkamp.
Across the country, every healthcare facility will participate as the flagship venues for the public engagement. Other participating organizations/facilities that have their own physical spaces will engage in activities as well. Those organizations that lack physical spaces will work in conjunction with others or at non-healthcare venues (libraries, grocery stores, drug stores, etc.) to support the initiative. A variety of churches, synagogues, and mosques around the country will also support the effort by highlighting the importance of advance care planning with their congregations.
See our pledge map for a list of organizations from across the country participating in NHDD this year.
NHDD is a very open and collaborative movement. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to register as participating organizations and State Liaisons here.
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