National Healthcare Decisions Day, celebrated annually on April 16, is a nationwide initiative to inspire, educate, and empower the public and health care providers about the importance of advance healthcare planning. But what, exactly, is advance healthcare planning? Broadly speaking, advance healthcare planning is the process of formulating and documenting your beliefs and wishes in connection with your health care.
Issues to consider in this process include nursing home admission, end-of-life care preferences, and organ donation, just to name a few. After deciding what your wishes are in this regard, the next most important decision is selecting initial and successor health care agents. Your agents should be people that you trust to follow your wishes and make health care decisions on your behalf, if you should become incapacitated. Finally, once you know “what” and “who,” it is imperative that you memorialize your wishes in writing. In the State of Wisconsin, this can be accomplished via various advance health care directives, including Powers of Attorney for Health Care, HIPAA Authorizations for Release of Protected Health Information, and Declarations to Physicians (also referred to as a “Living Will”).
The Conversation Project, the nonprofit organization charged with managing and promoting National Healthcare Decisions Day, has various resources available on its website, including a COVID-19 specific conversations guide. The State Bar of Wisconsin has also made it’s excellent publication, A Gift to Your Family: Planning Ahead for Future Health Needs, available as a free download through April 25, 2020, in recognition of National Healthcare Decisions Day. We hope that these resources will be helpful to you and your family, no matter where you are in the process of your own advance healthcare planning.
If you have any questions on this topic, please contact Lin Law LLC at (920) 393-1190.