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On April 16, organizations all across the country will be promoting Healthcare Decisions Day to encourage individuals to think about the care they would want through the end of life.

Here are a couple of options for ways hospitals can engage in the effort:

  • Continue utilizing the toolkit sent previously to all hospitals for internal promotion of advance care planning.  Click to view toolkit resources. Click for information on Alabama’s advance directives, pediatric directive and portable DNAR.  It’s believed that hospital employees and physicians who have completed their own advance directives are much better equipped to support and address questions from patients and their families about this important topic.
  • Begin publicly promoting advance care planning. See the resources listed below to help.  Most of these come from the Conversation Project, a national effort by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, that was developed based on significant research and focus groups on how to have these important conversations.  There is a lot here, so maybe start with Healthcare Decision Day and then continue through the next couple of months.

    • Great ideas from other organizations about how to promote the day

    • Encourage others to host a movie night with friends.  Show this movie and have discussions after.

    • Download all types of helpful conversation guides (available in English, Spanish and Chinese, as well as audio versions).  These can be used with patients, in civic presentations, etc.
  • As with all community outreach, be sure to consider potential cultural barriers and adjust your communications to address those.  For example, for those who may distrust the healthcare system already, the person delivering the advance care message will be very important. Think about these types of things as you plan your communications strategy.
  • If your hospital wants to participate, think about who the most likely staff member would be to head up the efforts (e.g., chaplain, community outreach staff) and then ask for their help.