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Thank You

'Never doubt a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world because its the only thing that ever has.' Those words from the mouth of renowned cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead have never rung as true as they did today, April 16 on the Fourth Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day.

National Healthcare Decisions Day 2011 has proven a BIG success. Such an impactful national awareness initiative as this one would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of many 'committed citizens.' So we, the NHDD executive committee and team, would like to use this opportunity to extend our thanks to all who had a part in making it possible.

 

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Send Us Your Tips

Did you see something about advance directives in the news or in a medical or legal journal?  Maybe you found a great website about medical decision making we should know about.  There are several ways you can let us know about your discovery.  We like when you post to the blog, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook because then it shows the power of community, and encourages other people to share.


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Are advance directives effective?

Imagine that you are caring for Ted, a patient in hospice who would like to go from Los Angeles to Michigan to see his family one last time. His same-sex partner opens up to you that he is worried about what would happen if Ted became sick while in Michigan, as his family there are very religious and don’t necessarily agree with Ted's end-of-life wishes. Not to worry, you say, Ted has a valid advance directive that his same-sex partner is his health care agent. Then you pause and think. Hmmm… Maybe there is something to worry about.

That is the start of a great post by Dr. Eric Widera at the blog Geripal.  What a dilemma, huh?  Dr. Widera, a palliative care and geriatrics specialist at UCSF, does an excellent job using this setup to dissect the recent journal article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Lost in Translation: The Unintended Consequences of Advance Directive Law on Clinical Care.

The key findings include the following five barriers to effective advance directives:

  1. Inadequate reciprocal recognition among states
  2. Restricting surrogate decision makers
  3. Poor readability
  4. Burdensome requirements to complete advance directives
  5. Religious/social/cultural concerns
Dr. Widera goes into details on these barriers in his post.  Thankfully the authors of the article suggest some solutions.  And the many people who support National Healthcare Decisions Day have some great solutions too:

The great thing to see is that many people are talking about this issue on the Geripal post.  Go add your two cents just like the NHDD Chair Nathan Kottkamp did!

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