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April 8, 2013

Take Charge of Your Healthcare Decisions

April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. This day is a collaborative effort of national, state and community healthcare organizations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their wishes regarding their healthcare decisions.

Healthcare Decisions Day Highlights need to Document, Communicate Wishes

Making medical decisions isn’t always easy – especially when those choices need to be made at an emotional time. Now imagine not being able to make that decision due to a medical condition – your loved ones will need to act on your behalf. Many families unfortunately face this scenario, but you can do something about it by participating in National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16.

ThedaCare, along with national, state, and community organizations, will use April 16 to draw attention to the information and documents adults with decision-making capacity need to ensure their wishes are known regarding their healthcare decisions.

To support National Healthcare Decisions Day, documents will be available at all ThedaCare sites to provide information and tools for employees and the public to create written advance directives. These directives are in accordance with Wisconsin state laws and used to encourage the discussion about your wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers. The directive allows people to clearly communicate their healthcare wishes and name the person who would make medical decisions on their behalf if they are not able to tell health care providers what they want. This service is provided free of charge by ThedaCare.

“If more adults of all ages had a written healthcare direction in place, fewer families and healthcare providers would have to struggle with making difficult decisions without guidance from the patient,” said Greg Long, MD, chief medical officer for ThedaCare. “Advance directives help us as medical providers honor the patient’s wishes when the time comes to do so. It’s important to take action before a crisis comes up. This is vital not only for older adults but young adults, too.

Dr. Long said National Healthcare Decisions Day should spark important conversations families need to have regarding their healthcare decisions. “You need to do more than just fill out the documents. You need to talk about them, too. This isn’t a subject people like talking about, but it’s an important one. Don’t you want to know your loved one’s wishes? Think how much better you – and they — will feel after having the discussion,” he said.

ThedaCare ( is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, ThedaCare At Work, and ThedaCare At Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!