For many people, it is very hard to start an advance care planning discussion.  One of the key problems is finding the “right time” and the “right way” to bring up the topic.  All too often, this becomes a perpetual stumbling block because it often feels like the “right time” and the “right way” don’t exist.

A solution to this situation is to “blame” NHDD for the timing and the way to start the conversation.  Let NHDD be the scapegoat.

Imagine having your family gathered and trying to figure out how to broach the topic of advance care planning out of the blue.  Now, imagine broaching the topic because you tell your loved ones, “Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day, and I read in the paper that all of us should have conversations about advance care planning.”  Pointing to NHDD takes the burden off of people to find the “right time.”  As for the “right way,” consider the many resources about advance care planning on the website, and print them out or bring out the computer.  Walking through an existing tool is often much easier than starting from scratch and working without a framework.  Two problems solved, thanks to NHDD!

For institutional NHDD participants, the blame game can also work.  We all know that we need to do periodic staff training on advance care planning, but it never seems like the right time.  NHDD to the rescue, again!  Pointing to NHDD ought to make it much easier to get support (and a decent budget) from your institution and your colleagues.  Consider something like this: “Boss, I know that funds are really limited, but NHDD is right around the corner, and we really need to make a good impression on the community about the important topic of advance care planning.  Here’s a proposed budget for a public education event, can you approve it so we can get our committee to work on implementation?  Thanks.” 

As a grassroots effort, NHDD is what we all make of it.  At its best, NHDD is a wonderful catalyst for action.  If it means that you have to blame NHDD for needing to have the talk, to stage an event, or otherwise move the dial on advance care planning, NHDD is happy to oblige.