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    Breaking ACP News!

    Personalize Your Care Act of 2011 Introduced Today...

    'Today, tomorrow, and everyday should be National Healthcare Decisions Day!"

    --M. Joshua Morris (@LVDone), one of our Tweeps (NHDD Twitter follower)

     The aforementioned sentiment couldn't be more true to the NHDD mission. And, this afternoon as I write this post, we are one step closer to achieving that goal for the American people. Just moments ago long time advance care planning champion Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3rd) introduced H.R. 1589, the Personalize Your Care Act of 2011. This act would compensate or 'provide benefits to' physicians for encouraging patients to document their medical wishes and be proactive in making their healthcare decisions. In the press release announcing the proposed legislation, Congressman Blumenauer cites his support of NHDD as well as how this act will aid the conversations we are promoting through the NHDD initiative. Legislation like the one the Congressman has proposed is key to raising the profile of advance care planning in communities nationwide and I hope our elected officials, regardless of party will lend their support to make it happen. I'll keep you posted on developments! See the official announcement of the Personalize Your Care Act of 2011 below.

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    'Empowered': One CEO's Take on ACP

    In our efforts to bring you the importance of advance care planning through the eyes of varying individuals nationwide, we cast a wide net. Most recently we caught up with a well-respected leader in the hospice and palliative care community— Malene Davis. Davis is President & CEO of Capital Caring, one of the first and largest nonprofit providers of hospice and palliative care services in the United States, serving thousands of patients across six regional office locations throughout the metropolitan Washington, DC area. And, we were able to steal a few moments of her time to get the scoop on what advance care planning means to her. Here are some highlights from that interview:

    Q: What was it like when you first completed your advance directive?

    A: I was naturally a little hesitant. This is not an easy thing to approach for anyone, no matter what your age, or your profession. But I also felt empowered because I knew I was planning ahead in the event my health was compromised to a point where I couldn’t make decisions anymore. I wanted my family to feel assured that things were in order so they will never have to guess about what decision to make, especially during an emotionally charged time.


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    We Asked and You Answered...

    About two weeks ago (in my April 4th post), I wrote a personal plea (on behalf of myself and the rest of the NHDD team) to you-everyone from hardcore National Healthcare Decisions Day advocates to high-profile advance care planning supporters and cynical members of the media- to get behind this national initiative. I asked you to not only complete your own advance directive, but to inspire others by demonstrating the courage to share your advance care planning story with the nation, maybe even the world. I knew my reasoning was logical, my example was my own so it was personal enough, but still I wasn't sure how you'd respond. However, today-some 12 days later-I sit here sorry that I ever doubted you. It is clear that you are extremely committed to educating Americans about the importance of making healthcare decisions now in order to prepare for the medical unknown later (like I urged in my Monday post)! I am simply overwhelmed and moved to tears by the number of heartfelt stories you shared with us. So, as promised, I am sharing your stories and your plans to honor NHDD here over the next few days in hopes that they will serve to inspire others. First up is...

    Tanya Roberts, a social worker and the NHDD State Liaison from North Carolina, who shared her family's story within a few hours of our ask.

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    The Pledge


    So you’re an individual in an organization that isn’t doing anything for NHDD, what can you do? ... The Pledge!
    We can all start with ourselves... including me! I did my advance directive about three years ago, and since then have learned that the person I chose as my agent hates hospitals. I chose this person because they are the most practical decision maker in the family so I thought it made sense if the situation arises where difficult decisions need to be made about my healthcare, he could be the one to do it. Well except for that thing about hating hospitals.
    So now we’re just two days from NHDD and I’m going to take the pledge to update my advance directive, and do my absolute best to discuss my wishes with my family. One of the hardest aspects of advance care planning for me in the past has been discussions with my family. Just the thought of it makes me slightly anxious. I think they hear me talk about how important it is so often that they don’t hear me. So I get disappointed, if I can’t talk to my family about my healthcare decisions, who am I to be advocating to anyone else about how important advance directives are? This is something Christian Sinclair and I have often discussed and as disheartening as it may be, sometimes your family sees you as just that, family, regardless of the insight you may have from your professional experience.

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    Tonight the hospice and palliative care online community will be dedicating their weekly #hpm Tweetchat to discussing advance care planning with the #HaveTheTalk hashtag as a way to support the NHDD initiative. 

    But lets take a step back and start off with some basics... so this # symbol, what is this about? 

    For people not on Twitter, we’ll start by explaining a hashtag which basically is a way on Twitter to organize Tweets (short messages on Twitter) around a topic. Placing the # symbol in front of a word

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