We know that even though we deem April 16th National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), the hope is that people will start thinking of the advance care planning discussion as one that they are comfortable having any day. Though we haven't quite gotten to that point within our communities, the successes of NHDD 2011 indicate that we're making great strides to educate the public to that end. A prime example of an NHDD-inspired effort that is expanding its reach is the state of New Mexico's advance care planning initiative--'Individual Personal Planning Week.'
“In our work, we force guardianships on people through the courts because they never completed their advance directives on their own. We think that it’s so important that people plan ahead so that they don’t have to come to us to receive a government guardian. So through telling people about alternatives to guardianship ---advance directives and power of attorneys—people also learn about guardianship which should be a last resort. And, it's a win-win situation for our office in terms of public education," said Frank Fajardo, Manager of the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council's (DDPC) Office of Guardianship in New Mexico.
In mid-February, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed a proclamation declaring NHDD 2011 (April 16) through Sunday, April 24 'Individual Personal Planning Week' to help the DDPC implement this 'win-win' public education strategy. And the New Mexico DDPC Office of Guardianship has taken tremendous steps to share quality advance care planning information with its residents through offering resources, tools and helpful tutorial videos online. Among the resources they are offering the public this week are an:
- Emergency Advance Care Planning Card (Noting your medical emergency wishes)
- 'ER Laminate Card Sample' (and Instructions)
- NM Mental Health Treatment Advance Directive Form
- 'Optional Advance Healthcare Directive' Explanation
- NM Power of Attorney Form
- Web Addresses RE: Advance Care Planning Document (Resource Guide)
- 'Guardianship: What are Your Alternatives' Brochure