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April 16: The Day Our Country Talks About Advance Planning

Planning a vacation is fun. Planning a wedding is exciting. Planning a meeting is important. Planning for your future healthcare is critical, which is why Compassion & Choices makes such a big deal out of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

Every April 16, a coalition of more than 100 national organizations mobilizes to talk to as many Americans as possible about getting their healthcare wishes written down and expressing those wishes to their family, loved ones and healthcare providers. That means making sure you have an advance directive, which includes a living will (describing the treatment you want) and a durable power of attorney (designating the person who will speak for you) in the event that you are sick and cannot speak for yourself. Compassion & Choices has the tools you need to get your advance planning process started. Visit our website today by clicking here.

This month, Compassion & Choices volunteers will fan out across the country to participate in this day of community and education, connecting with neighbors at libraries, churches and other sites. (If you’d like to volunteer, contact Roland Halpern, regional campaign & outreach manager, at 800-247-7412). Because Compassion & Choices maintains a veritable library of information about end-of-life planning, we will share pamphlets, flyers and postcards with people around the country for NHDD. There are wallet cards you can carry at all times, Good-to-Go Guides with the ABC’s of end-of-life planning, referral cards for our End-of-Life Resource Center toll-free phone line, 800-247-7421, and official advance directives for all 50 states and the District of Columbia (which you can always find on our website, too).

In addition to face-to-face conversations planned for dozens of cities from New York to Los Angeles and Medford to Missoula, Compassion & Choices is taking the conversation online with a digital campaign. Compassion & Choices is on Twitter and Instagram, as well as Facebook, where many of the state campaigns also have lively pages. Between now and April 16, Compassion & Choices will be highlighting ours and other organizations’ work, as well as social media posts and photos from across the Internet by clicking here. Please contribute! You can message us on Facebook and attach your photo, tag @compandchoices in your tweets or use the #NHDD hashtag, or tag @compassionandchoices on Instagram.

Also exciting is that citizen interest has meant a growing number of states and cities are officially declaring April 16 Healthcare Decision Day. New Jersey is the latest state to pass a proclamation, and it joins Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina and New Mexico. Also in New Mexico, Santa Fe and Las Cruces have declared Individual Person Planning Weeks.