​Hospice of the Western Reserve Supports National Healthcare Decision Day  
April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day set aside by healthcare providers across the country to remind people to have the conversation with their families and to complete their Advance Directives. It doesn’t need to be a scary process and there are many community resources available to help. National research consistently shows most people agree it is important to speak with their families about their end-of-life healthcare preferences.  However, few have had the conversation.

Free planning materials available through partnership with University Hospitals
This year, Hospice of the Western Reserve is partnering with University Hospitals to provide free resources at several of its community medical centers. During the week of April 15-19, Advance Care Planning materials are available in the lobbies of the following UHHS Medical Center Main Lobbies: Conneaut, Geneva, Geauga, Portage and St. John Medical Center.

Additional resources are available on Hospice of the Western Reserve’s website, including Courage in Conversation, a handy booklet that offers tips and worksheets and includes all the legal forms required by the State of Ohio. 

Remember, planning and documenting end-of-life healthcare choices does not need to complicated. The process can be distilled into these three basic steps:
•    Have a conversation with your family members. Many community organizations and websites provide great tools and platforms to help you get started.   
•    Document your wishes.  Having a conversation is great and having proof of that conversation is even better.  After having the conversation, be sure to communicate them in an Advanced Directive, which includes a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney.
•    Provide real-time access. What good is a document if it is locked away somewhere? Once your Advance Directives are completed, be sure to provide copies to physicians, your healthcare proxy and trusted family members so they will be able to honor your wishes should you ever be unable to communicate for yourself.  

The planning process doesn't happen overnight.  It will take thought, emotional readiness and time to sort out the options. Sharing your choices through conversation is an important first step. In the long run, the conversations will be the greatest gift to those you love, giving them the confidence to act knowingly on your behalf, and giving you the comfort of knowing that your wishes will be honored.