Among the many great things about National Healthcare Decisions Day (“NHDD”) is that it creates a wonderful opportunity for collaboration within the community and among various organizations.  The Speak Up! video featured below and now on the NHDD home page is a wonderful example of this.  The U.S. version of the video is a slightly revised version of the Canadian video, which itself was inspired by NHDD.  

NHDD has had a long history of collaboration.  The collaborative efforts of our original steering committees produced most of the content on the NHDD website.  We’ve also enjoyed joint press releases, such as that by the American Bar Association and American Medical Association, and lots of collaboration in various blog posts.  Also notable is the fact that NHDD offered a (rare) opportunity for congressional collaboration, with bi-partisan support for NHDD resulting in resolutions in both the Senate and the House.

Ideally, these previous NHDD activities will inspire more collaboration, particularly collaborative efforts that continue long after NHDD each year. 

For NHDD itself, it is my hope that an ever-growing number of hospitals will put on community programs and professional education sessions on advance care planning issues in collaboration with their various referral sources and recipients such as nursing homes, hospices, assisted living facilities and home health agencies.  Furthermore, it would be great if these organizations would also examine their policies, procedures, and actual practices to ensure that all involved are soliciting, sharing, and honoring patient wishes to the greatest degree possible.  

Of course, NHDD is not just about health care facilities.  NHDD reminds us of the need for physicians, nurses, and others to collaborate in the advance care planning process and avoid situations in which conversations become siloed.  Similarly, NHDD invites the legal community to collaborate with various organizations to offer pro bono services.  Indeed, the possibilities are endless. 

There are numerous occasions in which we all must “Speak Up!” because advance care planning is “how we care for each other.”  One way to do this is to share this video with someone else and use it as an invitation to collaborate.  Not only will this help NHDD grow, it will foster relationships within the community, and will improve the advance care planning process as a whole.

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