National Healthcare Decisions Day 2016

Apr 15, 2016





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.

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

Continuing education: June 2016 national conference; other national CE programs; chapter-level programs)

Specialty Practice Sections

Consumer-friendly information about advance care planning

Find a Social Worker: online databases


National Healthcare Decisions Day Web site

Joint Commission consumer brochures addressing palliative care and memory problems and dementia

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.)


Consumer-friendly information about advance care planning from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization: CaringInfo; Moments of Life

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)

Center to Advance Palliative Care

Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network


Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW

NASW Senior Practice Associate

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