Governor Sununu Proclaims April 16th Healthcare Decisions Day in New Hampshire

The Foundation for Healthy Communities is pleased to announce that Governor Sununu has officially declared today, April 16, 2019, as Healthcare Decision Day through a State of New Hampshire Gubernatorial Proclamation in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day, which highlights the importance of advance care planning.

“National Healthcare Decisions Day is a reminder to talk with your provider, your family or friends about your healthcare wishes in the event of a medical crisis,” said Brian Kugel, Program Coordinator at the Foundation for Healthy Communities. “Engaging in the conversation and completing an advance directive allows you to decide who will make your healthcare decisions you ever lack the capacity to do so, and it’s one of the most important conversations for families to have with each other.”

National Healthcare Decisions Day exists as a 50-state annual initiative to provide clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare decision-making to both the public and providers/facilities through the widespread availability and dissemination of simple, free, and uniform tools to guide the process.  A recent survey conducted by the Foundation determined that an estimated 45% of New Hampshire residents have an advance medical directive that provides their families and caregivers with guidance should they become unable to make healthcare decisions themselves.

As part of the campaign, the Foundation for Healthy Communities held a legislative breakfast at the State Capitol this morning to inform local legislators about the importance of advance care planning and end of life care decisions.  “The focus of National Healthcare Decisions Day is on education, for families and for healthcare providers,” Kugel added. “Its goal is to increase the number of people who understand the importance of advance care directives and planning for serious illness or end-of-life care.”

In addition to advance directives, Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) play an integral role in advance care planning.  With the goal of improving the quality of care for patients who are seriously ill, POLST acts as a portable medical order that identifies, documents, communicates and honors patient medical treatment wishes that are honored across all care settings.  It is a voluntary program for patients and providers that is designed to improve the understanding and communication of a patient’s medical care choices when patients move among different care settings.

The Foundation for Healthy Communities has served as the leading resource for advance care and end of life care planning, including POLST, for patients and their families, medical providers, hospitals and health systems throughout the state since 1998.  The Foundation 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. More information and resources, including the Advance Care Planning Guide, are available free of charge online here.