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National Healthcare Decisions Day

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 • by Sarah Whitman-Salkin

Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day to inspire and encourage everyone to create advance health care directives. Today, we'd like to help you to start talking to your loved ones about your end-of-life wishes.

An advance directive is a legal tool for stating how you'd like to be treated at the end of life, including the types of medical treatments you'd like or would not like, the type of environment you'd like to be in, and who should make your health care decisions for you if you become unable to speak for yourself.

An advance directive is composed of two parts:

1. Naming a health care power of attorney, who can advocate for your care when you may not be able to
2. Creating a living will, stating the types of medical treatments you do and do not want at the end of your life

There are two main reasons to create an advance directive:

1. To make your wishes known so that your family can care for you in the ways you want at the last stage of your life
2. To relieve your family of the burden of having to make these tough decisions at a difficult time

If you haven't done so yet, check out our directory of State-by-State Advance Directive Forms, find your state's forms, and start filling them out. And if you've already named a health care power of attorney, be sure to direct them to our article on How to Be a Good Health Care Power of Attorney.

Happy National Healthcare Decisions Day. We hope the last stage of your life is wonderful.