Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16th of each year. The day exists to raise awareness around the importance of having conversations and planning if you have a serious illness or medical emergency and can’t speak for yourself about your preferences for life-sustaining care.
At the Quality Institute, we’re using the occasion to kick off a new season of Conversation of Your Life (COYL) events through our Mayors Wellness Campaign. For instance, on April 19 an expert will be at the Princeton Senior Resource Center to provide information on how to create your advance directive. On the same day, in Franklin Lakes, there will be an event at the Ambulance Corps Building called, “Driving Your Health Care Journey: Empowering Your Health Care Choices.” More events are coming throughout the spring and summer.
We started COYL in 2014 to encourage mayors and local leaders to provide their communities with education and resources on how to share their wishes for care and what they need to know about picking a health care proxy. At the core of all this work is the conversation. At COYL gatherings, participants learn about advance care planning, the various legally recognized documents, the steps to take, and how to discuss an often-difficult topic with their medical team, or the people in their lives that matter to them.
We recently received a grant from the Y.C. Ho/Helen & Michael Chiang Foundation to strengthen our COYL program. To help expand COYL, we would like to hear from you about your interest in this work. We are surveying our supporters, members, and existing COYL volunteers about their interest in the work as well as anyone who would like to get involved or bring COYL to their community. Please take and share the survey with others who may share our passion for enabling everyone to have the care they want, no more and no less.
Finally, I invite you to read our Take Five, below, with Phillip W. Heath, President & CEO of Samaritan Life Enhancing Care. Phillip has 30 years of experience in hospice care and a valuable perspective we are proud to share.