National Health Care Decisions Day Encourages Importance of Advanced Healthcare Decision Making

April 11, 2016

It is often taken for granted that when medical decisions need to be made, people will be able to make decisions for them, yet many will be asked to make medical decisions for loved ones.

Ministry Health Care, along with other national, state and community organizations, are leading an effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

As a participating organization, Ministry Health Care is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare clinicians, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Wisconsin state laws.

“Talking about your health care wishes may not be easy, but it will help your family understand what is important to you. It gives you a chance to share your health care wishes with your family and your clinicians,” said Leslie Stilin Schmidt, ethics fellow, Ministry Health Care. “As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known.”

Power of Attorney for Health Care, Living Will/Declaration to Physicians and Community Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order and Bracelet are the most common forms of written instructions that state wishes about future health care decisions.

“These documents guide your physicians and loved ones in the event you cannot make health care decisions for yourself,” says Stilin Schmidt. “An Advance Directive makes sure that your beliefs and wishes are known.”

Ministry Health Care offers information on Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives at, additional information is available at


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