Posted April 15, 2016
Join NASW in observing National Healthcare Decisions Day by encouraging your clients to consider, discuss, and document their health care decisions—and by doing the same for yourself and with people close to you. Advance care planning is an ongoing process of communication that fosters self-determination in health care decision making. Completion of advance directives is but one component of advance care planning; frequent conversations are essential to clarify, update, and convey each individual’s values, goals, and decisions. Social workers play an integral role in facilitating such conversations with individuals, families, and other members of interdisciplinary health care teams. They also help individuals and families to understand and complete advance directives, forms based on the National POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) Paradigm, and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) forms.
Although National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is observed on April 16, efforts to promote advance care planning need not be limited to one day. Use this year’s NHDD theme—It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late—as a catalyst for initiating advance care planning education and action throughout and beyond the month of April.
- Access NHDD activity ideas and resource materials and let NHDD organizers know about events you organize in your community.
- Read NASW’s recent comments to CMS advocating for Medicare reimbursement of advance care planning services and learn how CMS responded.
- Download an NASW Practice Perspective on advance care planning.
- Find educational information about the social work role in advance care planning at NASW’s consumer site, Help Starts Here.
Please use #NHDD to follow National Healthcare Decision Day developments on Twitter.
Practice Perspectives: Reexamining Advance Care Planning
Legal Defense Fund Legal Issue of the Month: Social Workers and Advance Directives
Hospice and palliative care practice tools, resources, and announcements
Standards for Palliative & End of Life Care
Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials in hospice and palliative social work
Consumer-friendly information about advance care planning
Find a Social Worker: online databases
RESOURCES DEVELOPED OR OFFERED IN COLLABORATION WITH NASW
National Healthcare Decisions Day Web site
Leadership Council of Aging Organizations Advanced Care, Hospice, and End of Life Principles
National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care (3rd ed.)
OTHER RELATED RESOURCES
Free archived webinars on advance care planning, the POLST Paradigm in nursing homes, end-of-life planning, and ethics in end-of-life decision making, offered by University of Iowa School of Social Work
National Academy of Medicine report, Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life, and associated activities and resources
Social Work Palliative and End-of-Life Care electronic mailing list (Beth Israel Medical Center)
Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW
NASW Senior Practice Associate