Healthcare Decisions Day Encourages Tennesseans to Exercise Their "Voice" Even When They Can't Speak for Themselves

April 10, 2019

Tuesday April 16, 2019 is Healthcare Decisions Day in Tennessee and across the USA.

In a nod toward the familiar  Benjamin Franklin quote about two certainties of life, the day after “tax day” has been set aside nationally by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and The Conversation Project for individuals to appoint a health care proxy and decide just how much healthcare they want to receive as they near the end of life.  Tennessee is one of the states leading that effort.

Events are planned in local communities across the state to increase awareness of the importance of advance care planning for health and medical decision making. Governor Bill Lee has issued a proclamation to that effect in Tennessee.

Honoring ChoicesÒ Tennessee (HCT) launched its AdvanceDirectivesTN initiative on National Healthcare Decisions Day 2017 to increase the number of Tennesseans who have an advance directive for healthcare.  An advance directive for healthcare is a document that would tell family and care providers a patient’s preferences for care should they ever be in a position where they could not make decisions and communicate them for themselves.

Last year, the organization launched its website and implemented a program to educate Tennesseans who work in the healthcare industry about the importance of honoring patient wishes regarding end-of-life care.

This year, Honoring Choices Tennessee will take its message to the workplace and the worship place, said Phil Martin, HCT executive director.  Research conducted by the group found that fewer than one-third of adult Tennesseans have executed such a document and those who have not done so believe the subject should be a topic of conversation within the context of employee benefits at work, as well as in the faith community.

Rev. Rosemary Lloyd of The Conversation Project said the national organization applauds Tennessee’s National Healthcare Decisions Day efforts to encourage people to talk about their wishes for how they want to live at the end-of-life. “Bringing programs to people in their congregations and work places makes so much sense. Talking in these familiar settings helps to normalize having ‘the conversation’ about what matters most before a medical crisis occurs.”

Employers or faith congregations who want to access Honoring ChoicesÒ Tennessee resources to for the workplace or the worship place can visit the organization’s website at www.advancedirectivesTN.org or call 615-268-8000.

Among the members of Honoring ChoicesÒ Tennessee are Tennessee Hospital Association, Tennessee Nurses Association, Tennessee Medical Association, Tennessee Health Care Association, Tennessee Center for Assisted Living, Tennessee Hospice Organization, Tennessee End of Life Partnership, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disabilities, Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Middle Tennessee Council on Aging, Healthy Shelby, Hospice of Chattanooga, Alive Hospice, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, MyDirectives, QSource and AARP.

Honoring ChoicesÒ Tennessee is affiliated with the Honoring ChoicesÒ national network that has affiliates in a dozen other states, including Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Conversation Project, part of the IHI, was launched nationally in 2012 to enable more people to sit down at the kitchen table with family members and friends and talk about what they want when it comes to end-of-life care.