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National Healthcare Decisions Day Stresses the Importance of Being Prepared in the Time of COVID-19

National Healthcare Decisions Day Stresses the Importance of  Being Prepared in the Time of COVID-19

As communities and health care providers grapple with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Jherie Ducombs, vice president and assistant chief medical officer of North Oaks Health System, is encouraging adults to use some of their downtime to think about, communicate and document their future healthcare wishes and decisions in observance of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), which is Thursday, April 16.

“There are many things that may seem out of your control right now, but there are some things you can do to help yourself and those you love prepare for unexpected life events that can happen at any age and at any time. Making your future healthcare decisions known to your family, friends and medical providers is one thing you can do now to reduce confusion or disagreements about your care should you be unable to communicate,” Ducombs affirms. “Share your wishes and complete your advance directive because your decisions matter.”

According to a 2018 national survey sourced by The Conversation Project, 92% of adults believe it’s important to talk about how they would like to be cared for if faced with a life-limiting condition, but only 32% have expressed their wishes to their families, friends and healthcare providers, and 53% note that they would be relieved to discuss it.

Dana Goblowsky of Hammond does feel a sense of relief from making her wishes officially known recently.

Goblowsky explains, "My living will gives my daughter Taylor a direction to proceed in case of an irreversible health care diagnosis or traumatic condition/injury. Taylor and I do not live in the same state, and I am her only living family member. We politely discussed this topic because it is the right thing to do based on our circumstances.

“Even though she knows and respects my wishes, she is deserving of me putting them in writing and including them in the proper legal documentation,” Goblowsky continues. “She deserves to have peace during a time of emotional crisis. Anything I can do to make anything in her life easier is what I want to do as her mother.”

Resources to help start advanced healthcare planning conversations – including a COVID-19 Specific Conversation Guide – can be found here.