FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With National Healthcare Decisions Day, Heartland Home Health & Hospice is encouraging people to talk about planning for the unknown.
National Healthcare Decisions Day is meant to encourage people to talk about what course of action their family should take in the event that an family member is unable to make a decision. It’s a subject that Heartland Home Health and Hospice’s Christy Naylor said often comes up too late.
“Death is human,” Naylor said. “Death is not medical, and it can be uncomfortable.”
The topics suggested are primarily about quality of life post-illness or injury. This includes details like how much medical intervention you would like, in what situations you would not want to be resuscitated, as well as decisions like who would have medical power of attorney for your care. According to Naylor, these topics have only become more relevant in the past year as families unexpectedly had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have just really, all of us, at one point in time, have probably thought about mortality once or twice, [with] so many unknowns in the past year with the pandemic,” Naylor said.
It is not uncommon to hear that people haven’t had these discussions, according to Naylor. This is partially because it sounds like an intimidating conversation. However, she adds that it does not have to be.
“It’s really just about taking a step back and thinking, what does an ideal day look like to me, and what makes me feel safe and loved, and, and it’s questions like that that can really kind of help navigate in your mind your own thoughts and feelings about it, and it doesn’t have to be a scary pressured thing,” Naylor said. “There’s lots of tools and stuff like that out there to be able to have a little bit more of a delicate conversation without making it so scary.”
This week, Heartland has been encouraging its own employees to make a healthcare plan with their families. They were given a guide to take home and to discuss with their families, and Heartland partnered with local attorneys to help the employees with the legal side of things.
Although National Healthcare Decisions Day falls on April 16 each year, Naylor said healthcare providers often push to spread information all month.
You can find links to resources and guides for navigating healthcare decision planning on Heartland’s Facebook page.