A coalition of healthcare organizations is planning a June strategy session in Chicago to come up with an official day for promoting advance directives for end-of-life medical decisions. The event would be a sort of outgrowth of a 2-year-old effort in Virginia.
The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Bar Association and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization are some of the groups that are in the process of making this happen, says Nathan Kottkamp, chairman of the Committee to Establish Virginia Advance Directives Day.
Its still in the formative stages, but the goal is create a framework for a national event, he says.
It is an opportunity for various groups to compare materials and to share stories on whats been successful and what hasnt in terms of communicating advanced directives to the public, AHA spokeswoman Alicia Mitchell says.
The AHA in the meantime has been running its own national campaign on advance directives called Put it in Writing, which has been informing the public of the importance of these directives through a brochure, Web site and radio and television public service announcements, Mitchell says.
Kottkamp noted that Virginia hospitals and other healthcare organizations in the state have participated in such an event for the past two years.
Virginia Advance Directives Day, which is taking place on April 17 this year, is designed to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions. All Virginians that day will be encouraged to visit local hospitals to obtain free advance directive forms and information on how to name an agent to create a living will and help with other healthcare decisions.
Last year, one-third of the 197 participating facilities in the advance directives day reported that more than 3,600 people either picked up advance directives information while they were already in a facility or specifically came by for information or a presentation. Of this number, more than 200 people executed an advance directive on the spot.