NH Observes National Healthcare Decisions Day 04.16.14


NEWS RELEASE                       

Attention News Editors


Contact: John Clayton

VP, Communications





For Immediate Release                                       

April 16, 2014                                                                   



NH participated in April 16 national observance to make advance health care decisions


CONCORD – A new survey of 25 communities hospitals in New Hampshire found that almost two-thirds of acutely ill adult patients did not have an advance directive in their hospital medical chart to guide health care decision-making if they were unable to do so themselves.

The Foundation for Healthy Communities and many other organizations in New Hampshire observed “National Healthcare Decisions Day” yesterday (April 16), in an effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare directives.

“National Healthcare Decisions Day is a reminder to talk with family or friends about your wishes in the event of a medical crisis,” said Shawn LaFrance, executive director of the Foundation for Healthy Communities. “Conversations and completion of an advance directive can make your wishes known about difficult medical decisions, and healthcare providers will be better able to honor patients’ wishes when the time comes.”

According to the statewide survey conducted last month, of the 1,450 patients who took part, only 556 – or 38 percent of patients – had documentation in their medical charts regarding who they would want to make decisions for them if they lacked the capacity to do so.

“The focus of “National Healthcare Decisions Day” was on education,” LaFrance added. “Its aim was to increase the number of people who understand the importance of advance care directives and planning for serious illness or end-of-life care. Many organizations observed the designated day by providing information to clients, patients or residents and their families, as well as to their employees.”

The Foundation for Healthy Communities provides information to help people address the topic with family, friends and healthcare providers and complete a written advance directive, such as healthcare power of attorney and a living will, in accordance with New Hampshire law. The Foundation’s advance care planning guide is available free of charge on line at www.healthynh.com


The Foundation for Healthy Communities is a nonprofit corporation that exists to improve health and health care in New Hampshire. The Foundation’s partnerships include hospitals, health plans, clinicians, home care agencies, public policy leaders, and other organizations.