Businesses Encouraged to Take Part in National Healthcare Decisions Day
Joan Lanoie- ACP Facilitator with TD Bank staff
March 28, 2019
NORTH CONWAY, NH - Death is as much a part of life as birth, but in the workplace, the topic of death and dying is not often discussed. Yet it is as much of an issue for employers to address as any other part of life that impacts their employees. That’s why Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice of Carroll County is focusing their National Healthcare Decisions Day efforts this year on outreach to area businesses and employees to raise awareness on the importance of advance care directives.
Taking place on April 16, 2019, National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers around the importance of advance care planning. It is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes and for healthcare providers to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.
Brent Pawlecki, MD, former corporate medical director for Pitney Bowes, a 35,000 employee company, wrote a landmark article on end of life issues in the workplace in 2006. He noted that one of the most important services employers can offer is education, knowledge and access to reputable and trusted resources and tools that can help employees manage and cope with end of-life issues. One key tool for employers to promote is an advance directive, a legal document outlining an individual's end-of-life preferences.
Executive Director Sandy Ruka explained how end of life issues impact businesses. “When employees take time off to care for loved ones or are diagnosed with a terminal illness, this can lead to absenteeism, depression and other related stresses. With approximately 25 percent of benefit expenses paid during the last year of life, these realities can create a resultant financial and human toll for employers since employees may be involved with caring for a family member. By partnering with local businesses, we hope to make it easier for their employees to learn about the importance of advance care directives. It benefits both the business and the employee in the long run.”
The following locations join an expanding list of community supporters, that will host displays and other information available on April 16 about advance care directives:
North Conway Library
Cook Memorial Library
Eaton Village Store
Shaw’s (North Conway)
The Other Store
Kenneth A. Brett School
Moultonborough Central School
Bear Camp Valley School and Children’s Center
It is not too late for other businesses and other organizations to get involved. Anyone wishing to have a display at their location are welcome to call VNHCH at 603-356-7006 to be part of the day.
Ruka added, “Anyone over the age of 18 should have advance directives in place. Anything can happen. Someone could make a decision you don’t want.”
“When you're young, you may not know what medical treatments you want, but you may be certain about who you want to make those decisions. If you're in your 70s or you have a serious illness and you know the course it is going to take, you may put in more detail.”
What is Advance Care Planning?
Advance care planning is making decisions about the care you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself. These are your decisions to make, regardless of what you choose for your care, and the decisions are based on your personal values, preferences, and discussions with friends and family.
Advance care planning involves having a conversation with your loved ones about your preferences, and then documenting them with a document called an Advance Directive. In order to complete an Advance Directive you must identify the types of treatments you want and don't want at the end of your life. It's comprised of your Living Will and Health Care Proxy.
A Living Will details the types of medical treatments you would like or not like at the end of life, specifically in terms of life-support treatments.
A Health Care Proxy is someone who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are no longer be able to make your own decisions.
Can’t make it on April 16? VNHCH provides free advance care directives to community members at their offices and at other locations around the Valley. Call 603-356-7006 for more information. Getting Advance Care Directives completed is free and can be done at no cost.
For more information on National Healthcare Decisions Day, go to https://www.nhdd.org.
For more information about VNHCH services, visit the website at www.vnhch.org or call 603-356-7006 or 800-499-4171.