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In case you missed it … National Healthcare Decisions Day

Every year April 16 marks an important day for those who are passionate about hospice and palliative care: National Healthcare Decisions Day.

This nationwide initiative exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning.

It falls on April 16 – the day after Tax Day – to correspond with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

This year’s theme for National Healthcare Decisions Day was “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.”

And it’s certainly never too late to start talking with your family and your doctor about your healthcare wishes – whether it’s April 16 or not.

JourneyCare works with each of our patients and their families to understand their medical goals and wishes. But we also strive to educate our communities on this process, too.

Through a tool called “Five Wishes,” provided by community-based, advance care planning organization Be @ Ease, residents in the 10 Illinois counties served by JourneyCare can map out their advanced directives. “Five Wishes” is an easy-to-use legal document that is valid in most states, and written in everyday language that lets adults plan how they want to be cared for in case they become seriously ill.

“Five Wishes” helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It is unique because it speaks to a person’s holistic needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual.

“Many people think advance directives are only for older adults or people who face serious illness, but we encourage them for anyone 18 and older,” says Rachael Telleen, JourneyCare Advance Care Planning Advocate. “The goal is to make a cultural shift and make these discussions normal, so that we all have our advance directives mapped out.”

To obtain a copy of “Five Wishes,” visit Be @ Ease at beatease.org, or contact Rachael Telleen at rtelleen@journeycare.org or (312) 912-2678. Through Telleen, appointments can also be scheduled with JourneyCare volunteers who are trained to help answer questions for those completing the “Five Wishes” document.

Additionally, JourneyCare can also deliver presentations on “Five Wishes” and advance care planning to community groups, including local churches or civic clubs.


– By Elisabeth Mistretta, JourneyCare Content Specialist
Originally published in Together to Care, Spring 2016

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