Social Workers Support National Healthcare Decisions Day

Feb 12, 2008

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in collaboration with other national, state and community organizations, supports the first annual National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, 2008. National Healthcare Decisions Day is designated to encourage advance care planning for all adults.

In support of National Health Care Decisions Day, NASW Executive Director Elizabeth Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH will be participating in a continuing education webinar event entitled National Healthcare Decisions Day 2008: The Law, the Talk and the Care. This webinar will take place on March 19, 2008 at 2pm, and will also feature Ira Byock, M.D., director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Bill Colby, J.D., senior fellow with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, who represented the family of Nancy Cruzan in their family’s right-to-die case, the first such case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Social workers are advocates for advance health care planning, and are an excellent resource for persons who are unsure or unclear about the benefits of advance planning. Social workers can offer information regarding advance health care planning, including information about the process of creating an advance health care plan, choosing a health care agent, as well as helping to prepare and further explain the meaning of advance health care documents.

Advance care needs may include financial, health, future or long-term residential plans, says Dr. Clark. Social workers can work with individuals considering advance health care options to explore the goals and values that will guide your decision making process. Letting your family know your wishes ahead of time is a gift you can give your family.

NASW is proud to support the first annual National Health Care Decisions Day and is hopeful that this day will create a heightened sense of awareness among Americans to make advance health care decisions.

For more information on National Healthcare Decisions Day, please visit