National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) has promoted and supported advance care planning (ACP) on April 16thevery year since its inception in 2008. This day after “tax day” was intentionally chosen by NHDD founders to remind us of something Benjamin Franklin said several hundred years ago: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Ordinarily, with April 15th and 16th less than two weeks away, many of us would be busy gathering documents for tax preparation. Healthcare organizations, and their community partners, would be gearing up for ACP events during the entire month of April.
But 2020 is not an ordinary year. Tax filing has officially been postponed until July 15th, and it is entirely possible that every scheduled ACP gathering will be canceled as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
These unusual times do nothing, however, to diminish how important ACP conversations are. In fact, they accentuate the message that COVID-19 is making clear: death does not discriminate against age, race, gender or ethnicity. Now is the perfect time to start these conversations with your families or other loved ones who you trust to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Currently, it is impossible to complete a legally-recognized advance directive, given the requirement in NC of two unrelated witnesses and a notary. (Please note that one of the priority recommendations of the NCIOM Task Force on Serious Illness Care is working with the NC Legislature to change the requirement for both two witnesses and a notary.)
What IS possible right now is to begin the advance care planning process by starting the conversation.
Free resources include:
- Five Wishes: Talking About Your Wishes
- got plans?: Advance Care Planning Guide
- The Conversation Project: The Conversation Starter Kit
- The Conversation Project: Being Prepared in the Time of COVID-19
- The Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care: Isn’t It Time We Talk?
Download this list here.
What IS possible is to prepare to promote and support advance care planning in your community virtually. NHDD has put together its own creative ideas.
We invite you to share what you’re doing in your community!