Here on the blog, on our website, in our magazine, and at conference sessions, CALA has long advocated for the importance of advance care planning among our members and the residents they serve. From tools such as the POLST form to resources provided by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, we have encouraged older adults and their loved ones to have the long-term care conversation early and often.
And it seems this subject has gained importance, both statewide and nationally. Now, what was once a single day dedicated to advance care planning has become an entire week, beginning this Sunday. According to the National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) website, this event “aims to help people across the U.S. understand the value of advance healthcare planning.” The theme for the week is “It always seems too early, until it’s too late,” with a different focus for each day:
- Sunday (4/16): Prepare – A day to get resources together
- Monday (4/17): Start with Yourself – A day to think about your own healthcare decisions
- Tuesday (4/18): Family/Friends/Loved Ones – A day to discuss your wishes with others (and learn their wishes)
- Wednesday (4/19): Spread the Word – A day to tell others that you’ve engaged in advance care planning and encourage them to do the same
- Thursday (4/20): Facilities Focus – A day for healthcare providers of all sorts to promote advance care planning
- Friday (4/21): Professionals Preparedness – A day to ensure that all professionals (healthcare, clergy, legal, and others) understand and can promote advance care planning
- Saturday (4/22): Reflection and Readiness – Consider what worked well for NHDD week and file/share your advance care plans so they will be available if needed
CALA provider members might find it appropriate to focus on Thursday by following some of these suggestions from CCCC:
- Take a look through the advance care planning resources on our site.
- Use social media and your website to spread the word about #NHDD, use the hashtag!
- Make sure everyone in your organization is informed about NHDD.
- Host a meeting, dinner party, or other event centered around NHDD.
CALA members can also participate by downloading the Voice of Assisted Living presentation entitled “Starting the Long-term Care Conversation.” This presentation, geared toward family members of older adults, gives tips on starting what can often be a difficult conversation, and positions Assisted Living as an important part of the care continuum.
Regardless of whether your recognition of NHDD Week is personal or community-wide, we want to hear about it! Tell us what you have planned in the comments below.