National Healthcare Decisions Day

National Healthcare Decisions Day, also known as NHDD, is April 16th every year, the day after taxes are due—a nod toward the famous quip, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

NHDD was created to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. This day will be dedicated to the positive message and act of advance care planning for one’s own sake as well as for those we love.

Before I Die ND Initiative Turns Dreams into Words

Honoring Choices North Dakota® (HCND) is pleased to present an initiative to increase awareness about the importance of advance care planning. The goal of Before I Die ND is to encourage conversation and help participants reflect on how we manage death and dying by providing space and opportunities to discuss end-of-life issues. The initiative includes public presentations, poster exhibits, digital dialogue and more! The initiative is linked to National Health Care Decisions Day, which encourages adults to make end-of-life wishes known through advance care planning.

We plan so many aspects of our lives, yet we often do not think about how we want to live. The Before I Die ND initiative encourages us to take time to think about what is most important—our hopes, dreams, and aspirations for living to our full potential. It also encourages us to talk with family, friends, and loved ones to define our wishes for medical care at the end of life then document them in a health care directive. The Health Care Directives page provides downloads to directive forms.

Consumers can share their personal hopes and dreams on walls and chalkboards across the community; look for them in public spaces such as health systems, fitness clubs and coffee shops. These thoughts can also be shared through a social media campaign using #BeforeIDieND. Follow your local health system’s Facebook page for information and moving stories about advance care planning. Please share your thoughts and story on your social media accounts using #BeforeIDieND and encourage others to talk about advance care planning. These shared spaces have a lot of potential to promote valuable and meaningful contemplation about how we want to live and how we want to die so we can formulate decisions that really matter.

Honoring Choices North Dakota® sponsors the Before I Die ND initiative in collaboration with Essentia Health, Hospice of the Red River Valley and Sanford Health. For more information contact Sally May, Program Coordinator for HCND at (701) 989-6228 or sally.may@honoringchoicesnd.org.

Personal Stories

Advance care planning is a very personal process. Below you see four unique stories which ultimately convinced the teller that writing down preferences for care that is or is not wanted is not only important but can create peace of mind, allowing agents to confidently implement wishes as documented in a health care directive.

Kayla’s Story — Life and Death Used to Seem Very Simple to Me
Life and death used to seem very simple to me. You were either alive, or you weren’t. A conversation about health care directives seemed irrelevant. This changed for Kayla Hochstetler of Grand Forks, ND, when a car hit her 16-year-old brother while rollerblading and sustained a severe traumatic brain injury.  » Read more

Terry’s Story — It’s the Right Thing to Do for Your Family
Terry of Detroit Lakes, MN, tried to start a conversation with his father about planning for the future after his father had suffered two heart attacks but was unsuccessful. This prompted Terry to be proactive about health care directives and making arrangements that would make decisions easier for his children.  » Read more

Mary’s Story — One More Sunrise
Good things happen at the kitchen table—good food, good family, good conversations. Learn how the Baird family from Grand Forks brought the conversation about advance health care directives to the kitchen table to address the wishes of their husband/father.  » Read more

Kathryn’s Story — Advance Care Planning…Let Your Family Know What You Want
“The only way your loved ones can be assured that their wants are fulfilled is through advance care planning.” Read Kathryn Hart’s story as she was left with decisions about her husband’s care in an emergent situation. » Read more