Washington DC In an effort to encourage all Americans, at all stages of their life, to discuss important end-of-life medical decisions with their loved ones, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) and U.S Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) today introduced a joint-resolution to recognize National Health Care Decisions Day.
Its not easy to talk to a family member or loved ones about what kind of medical care youd want or not want at the end of your life. Yet everyday family members are making medical care decisions for seriously ill people who cant speak for themselves, said Senator Wyden. Our hope is that in promoting National Health Care Decisions Day we can spare families from having to make these difficult decisions without the guidance from loved ones by encouraging them to talk about end-of-life issues and to fill out written advance directives.
From advance medical directives, to living wills, to financial planning, Americans need to know how to prepare themselves for the unthinkable - long term illness and death, said Senator Enzi. Health care decisions are never easy, particularly at the end of a loved ones life. Still, we need to have a national dialogue on how to discuss and document critical end-of-life health care desires and beliefs. With this resolution we hope to raise the nations awareness and encourage families to prepare together in advance in order to spare undue hardships later on.
Advance directives help ensure that our medical care wishes are known, even if illness or tragedy leaves us unable to express them, said Congressman Gingrey. By preparing an advance directive, we can ease the burden on family and friends who might otherwise be asked to make difficult healthcare decisions for us. By designating April 16th as National Health Care Decisions Day, we hope to encourage adults of all ages to take a moment to consider and discuss their medical care preferences with loved ones and then fill out their own written advance directive. These sorts of decisions are never easy, but by making a tough decision now, you can save your family from an even tougher one down the road.
The bipartisan Senate-House Resolution supports the goals and ideals of National Health Care Decisions Day by encouraging health care, civic, educational, religious and other organizations to encourage individuals to use advance directives, while asking all Americans, including members of Congress to prepare advance directives for themselves.
According to Nathan Kottkamp, Chair of the National Healthcare Decisions Day, fewer than 25% of all Americans have an advance directive.
At this years inaugural National Health Care Decisions Day which will be held on April 16, 2008 organizations will team up across the country to not only highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making, but to help individuals execute written advance directives in accordance with state laws.
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