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decisions apr 24

It's That Time of Year Again! National Healthcare Decision Day

By Christi Humphrey, LCSW, Social Worker

Published March 28, 2024


National Healthcare Decision Day (NHDD) is coming up on April 16!  This annual tradition is a day to explore and set aside time for the most important topic, YOU!  Everyone over the age of 18 can use this day to plan ahead for all their important health decisions. Advance directives are a legal form that provides information and guidance to anyone involved in your care. Medical staff and family can have confidence in making decisions on your behalf and have peace of mind that they are being guided by you in an emergency.

National Healthcare Decisions Day allows us to look at these important issues, review the decisions we made last year, update the forms, and offers a way to talk about our wishes with our family. The day offers a wonderful opportunity to provide support to our loved ones and have conversations that will guide and direct care in stressful situations. The first step in planning is to choose the form that is best for you. There are many types of advanced directive forms. Georgia has a state-specific advanced directive that is free to anyone. You can view the form and download it with easy-to-understand instructions on this website. The language is more legally based; this form can only be used in Georgia. If you are traveling in another state, the advanced directive would not be valid. Another form that is highly respected and comprehensive is Five Wishes. This 12-page form is considered by many to be the easiest to understand and meets the legal requirements in 44 states, including Georgia. It includes important personal, emotional, and spiritual matters, in addition to medical wishes. The form allows for care planning in an easy-to-use approach.

It is important to remember that advanced directives only become active when two doctors agree that you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Each copy needs to be signed individually and you need two witnesses who are not related to you or have no economic investment in you. The forms do not have to be notarized in Georgia. Each healthcare provider, including HoG, will need a copy of the form with an original signature. Many people make 10 to 12 copies of all the completed forms with the signature section blank and then have a signing party. Once complete, each Healthcare proxy will need an originally signed copy, and each medical provider will also need a copy.

Guiding your family or the person you trust with your healthcare decisions eases their emotions and helps them make the right decisions for you. Hemophilia of Georgia Social Workers are available to talk about advanced directives, and HoG has FREE forms available if you need them.  You can also obtain your own forms online as well. Learn more about the Five Wishes advance directive forms.   Have a happy and productive National Healthcare Decision Day.  As always, HoG social workers are available to assist with the process or answer any questions you may have.  The social work team can be reached at the HoG office at 770-518-8272.