It’s Almost National Healthcare Decisions Day: The Time to Talk is NOW!

There are very few things more precious than a newborn baby. Perhaps it’s then no coincidence that most people plan for a new baby with the same fervor of NASA planning to launch a rocket into outer space. Every detail is meticulously evaluated – and rightfully so!

We’ve all heard of birth plans, right? We put a LOT of thought into a child’s birth and pre-plan as much as possible: the hospital, the physician, the method of birth, the medication options, the time off from work and more. We decorate a nursery, stock up on the essentials – diapers, formula, vitamins, adorable outfits, etc. – and hold several parties/occasions (remember when Babymoons and Gender-Reveal Parties weren’t things?).

When a new life is almost ready to come into this world, we all wait with bated breath.

Yet for most of us, we put forth very little thought, planning or discussion when it comes to healthcare decisions that will possibly need addressed later in our own lives. While completing an advance directive or living will may not carry the same excitement as buying a cute onesie that boldly asks “Does this diaper make my butt look big?” – it is no less important.

That’s why Good Samaritan Hospice (GSH), a mission of Concordia, along with many other organizations, is participating in a nationwide effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making – an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day.

“We encourage people to gather their family and those they love to discuss their wishes as it relates to all aspects of their health,” said GSH Executive Director Judy Connelly. “Create an advance directive, choose an advocate or medical power of attorney and tell others your goals and wishes. If you are ever in a situation where you are unable to express your wishes, it can be very difficult for those you love to make decision for you with a sense of peace. From that perspective, expressing and writing out your wishes is a gift to those you love.”

Representatives from GSH and Heritage Valley Health System will provide information and tools for the public on Thursday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Heritage Valley Beaver and Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital lobbies. The community is encouraged to stop by to learn about the importance of having thoughtful conversations about one’s healthcare decisions and completing advance directives to make their wishes known.

In addition to completing advance directives and living wills earlier, GSH encourages families with a member experiencing a serious illness to learn the basics of hospice care. They created a program called Reflections of Care to help families learn about their healthcare options, reflect on their wishes and address concerns. Here is a short, 3-minute video explaining the program.

This confidential, free, no-obligation program begins with a simple phone call to go over the family’s specific situation and options, as it relates to their loved one’s serious illness. The program aims to:

  • Reduce anxiety and eliminate misunderstandings
  • Answer questions they may have regarding community services, insurance and care options
  • Facilitate conversations they may want to have with family, friends and others
  • Listen as they share thoughts related to the disease and other concerns
  • Provide the opportunity to reflect upon and explain their wishes, in a safe and open environment

For more information on Good Samaritan Hospice, or to learn more about the Reflections of Care program, call 1-800-720-2557. You can also message us through our online Contact form.

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