Published on April 04, 2019

National Healthcare Decisions Day: Have You Planned Your Future Healthcare Choices?

Deciding Your Care Now Will Help Your Family and Medical Providers Know Your Wishes

Most Americans believe it is important to have a record of their healthcare preferences available, should they be unable to share that information. But Reading Hospital statistics indicate in 2018 only 38 percent of hospital inpatients actually had prepared advance directives for end-of-life care. That's why Reading Hospital supports National Healthcare Decisions Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 16. 

National Healthcare Decisions Day was created to encourage all individuals to put their personal healthcare wishes in writing in the event of future illnesses or injuries that may render them incapacitated. It's important to share those wishes with loved ones and with medical providers so crucial decisions can be made accordingly at the time they need to be made. Healthcare organizations and civic groups throughout the country support this initiative. 

"It is very imperative that all adults create a medical living will or advance directive. If you are ever in a circumstance where you are not able to speak for yourself, your healthcare team will use the information in this document to provide you with the type of medical care you would or would not want. The document also allows patients to designate whom they would trust to make decisions on their behalf," said Vinti Shah, DO, Chief, Section of Palliative Medicine at Reading Hospital. "I have personally witnessed children struggle at bedside, trying to figure out the type of care their parent would have wanted. I remember a tearful daughter once told me, 'I wish we had talked about this with mom when she was better and able to talk.'"

Dr. Shah will discuss advance care planning and how to go about obtaining an advance care directive at an "Active Aging: Advance Care Planning" seminar on Monday, April, 8, from noon to 1 p.m. at The Highlands at Wyomissing, 200 Cambridge Ave., Wyomissing.

Individuals can receive a free "Five Wishes" document, which will help you with your advance care planning. Call our HELPLine at 484-628-HELP (4357) for more information.

Learn more by watching this advance care planning video.