APRIL, 2011-Tamarac, FL – The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld and Associates, PA, held its 4th Annual Event marking National Healthcare Decisions Day. On this day, all across the country, health care facilities, health care professionals, chaplains, the legal community, and others will be participating in a collective effort to highlight the importance of making advance healthcare decisions and to provide tools for making these decisions.
The Federal Patient Self-Determination Act requires that all Medicare-participating healthcare facilities inquire about and provide information to patients on advance directives. It also requires these facilities to provide community education on advance directives. Unfortunately, despite these requirements and state laws giving patients a choice about their healthcare, it is estimated that only a small minority of people have executed an advance directive. Moreover, fewer than 50% of severely or terminally ill patients have an advance directive in their medical records.
National Healthcare Decisions Day seeks to address the public’s misunderstandings about advance healthcare planning and advance directives, including that a living will and a healthcare power of attorney are the same advance directives are only used for limiting care; severe illness or a catastrophic injury will never happen to them.
In an effort to educate the public and demystify the topic of advance care planning, the National Healthcare Decisions Day Initiative is working to: secure participation of every hospital, nursing home, and assisted living facility in the country as well as a broad array of community organizations focused on healthcare; secure participation by professionals throughout the country, including physicians, nurses, chaplains, and attorneys; create a diversified set of resources to provide clear, concise, and consistent information to the public about healthcare decision-making and advance directives; increase the number of people who have engaged in thoughtful advance care planning.
Ultimately, National Healthcare Decisions Day strives to provide much-needed information to the public, reduce the number of tragedies that occur when a patient’s wishes are unknown, and improve the ability of healthcare facilities and providers to offer informed and thoughtful guidance about advance healthcare planning to their patients.
Alice Reiter Feld, Esq., PA, CELA, has been practicing Elder Law in south Florida for over 30 years; frequently offers free seminars, print and online resources to the senior community-at-large fostering their understanding of their legal options under the “Elder Law Umbrella”. She has offices in West Broward, Boca Raton and Boynton/Delray Beach. www.florida-elderlaw.com / www.southfloridamemorylawyer.com