It’s 2014 and we’re kicking off the new year with a fresh National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) news roundup of recent articles relevant to advance care planning. NHDD plans to collect and organize interesting articles each month for our community of people interested in issues related to discussing and documenting informed healthcare decisions.

Recent news cycles remind us about the importance of this NHDD community and it’s dedication to raising awareness about advance care planning (ACP). Just this week, Hillary Young, Medical Guardian’s Communications Manager published a piece on the Huffington post urging people to think about end-of-life care titled “Are You Thinking About End-of-Life Care? You Should Be.” Young’s piece is a thoughtful examination of the awareness levels of people throughout the country about the importance of advance care planning and advance care directives. Young references a “new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine” and breaks down the disparities of awareness across the United States. Some of the facts she highlights are alarming, though we would argue, important to examine in building the much needed momentum for the ACP movement.

On Sunday, CNN introduced "Dying: What no one wants to talk about" by Jacque Wilson. This piece was spurred by the tragic brain death of 13-year-old Jahi McMath following a routine tonsillectomy. The news outlet explores the sometimes awkward, but necessary conversations and virtues of advanced cared planning in preventing emotional and heart wrenching decisions for families. CNN is also covering a brain death case in Texas “Family seeks to take pregnant brain-dead Texas woman off ventilator,” where Marlise Munoz’s family has had disagreements since she suffered a pulmonary embolism. These stories have sparked a difficult conversation and debate about advance directives that will likely carry-on long after the news cycle has ended.

Quick look at articles from the past month:

Matters of life and death: Making decisions now will help loved ones in future

Are You Thinking About End-Of-Life Care? You Should Be.

Dying: What no one wants to talk about

A great resolution involves pre-planning

No one wants to talk about death, but you need to anyway,0,5263335.story#ixzz2qXakYdqR

End of Life Planning in Japan

Tips on how to create a living will

Talk end-of-life care to take the shock out of death

Having a say in your health care when it matters most

Digitize your advance directives

Aging Well: Time is now for end-of-life planning

Holidays a good time to have 'the talk' about end-of-life planning

This holiday season, give the gift of planning

Editorial: Medicare-funded end-of-life planning benefits everyone

Lack of Awareness Continues to Be a Barrier for Americans in Making Medical Wishes Known

Researchers investigate new way to improve end of life planning