The Only Things Certain Are Death And Taxes
Absolutely no one likes to think about sustaining a life-threatening injury or catostrophic illness. Yet, as I wrote in an earlier post, trauma happens. There’s also, of course Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom, “Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes.” And such was the inspiration for Nathan Kottkamp, a health lawyer who founded National Health Care Decision Day two years ago. It will be observed this Thursday, April 16 (after tax day) and is intended to teach Americans the benefits of creating advance directives as well as encourage health care providers to recommend them to their patients. Communication among family members and between doctors and patients has to improve. An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) 2003 article, Advance Care Planning: Preferences for Care at the End of Life, found the following:
- Less than 50 percent of the severely or terminally ill patients studied had an advance directive in their medical record.
- Only 12 percent of patients with an advance directive had received input from their physician in its development.
- Between 65 and 76 percent of physicians whose patients had an advance directive were not aware that it existed.
“No matter where you live, you can fill out an advance directive without hiring a lawyer. It’s easy to do and is free,” ~Kottkamp
“[T]he simple act of creating an advance directive can turn out to be an incredible gift for loved ones in the event of an accident or severe illness.”~Kottkamp
Consult the enBloom Advanced Medical Planning Glossary and Guide for all the necessary resources to begin writing your advance directives including links to state living will forms, registries for palliative care and living wills, and definitions for all the key elements found within advanced directive documents.
April 16 Press Release. In National Health Care Decision Day. Cited April 13, 2009. Available at <http://www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org/april16.htm>