JUPITER, FL (April 3, 2012) – National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) on April 16th is an initiative to inform people about the importance of advance healthcare planning. The need for emergency healthcare documents is a difficult subject to broach. However, if someone cannot speak for themselves, their loved ones and healthcare providers can be unclear about the medical treatments and choices the incapacitated person would want as well as who should be making such decisions.

The statistics on healthcare directives are staggering. Less than 50 percent of severely or terminally ill patients have an advance directive in their medical record1. And, 65 to 76 percent of physicians whose patients had an advance directive were not aware that it even existed1. Although there has been an increase, still only 29% of people say they have a living will.

It is not a coincidence that National Healthcare Directive Day follows Tax Day. It is a tribute to Benjamin Franklin’s famous adage, “Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes.” NHDD encourages people to express their wishes regarding healthcare and also for healthcare providers to respect these wishes. Everyone can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. And, it is best to have your choices written down in two healthcare directives:

  1. An Advance Directive or Living Will is a document that allows an individual to continue their personal autonomy and provide instructions for what medical treatments would or would not be wanted in case they become incapacitated and cannot make decisions.
  2. A Healthcare Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy is a document that allows an individual to select a person who will make their treatment decisions if they become incapacitated and cannot communicate their wishes directly.

If you already have a healthcare directive, now is an ideal time to review it to ensure that it still reflects your wishes. And, it is important to inform your loved ones that you have emergency healthcare documents and to share copies with them. Both you and your family will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have set a plan for emergency medical situations.

For additional information on NHDD, visit www.nationalhealthcaredirectivesday.org. And, if you would like to schedule an appointment to update your existing directives, create new directives, or make any changes to your overall estate plan, please contact The Meyer Law Firm at 561-748-7720.

Serving south Florida, Meyer Law Firm focuses on wills, trusts, estate planning, probate, estate administration, and real estate. Attorney Colette K. Meyer has been helping clients secure their family’s future for over twenty years. For more information, visit www.MeyerLawFirmFL.com or contact Michelle at 561-748-7720 or michelle@MeyerLawFirmFL.com.

Press Contact

Michelle V. Meyer
Director of Client Services
Tel: 561.748.7720


1. “Advance Care Planning: Preferences for Care at the End of Life”, U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2003.

2. “More Americans Discussing – and Planning – End-of-Life Treatment”, The Pew Research Center, January 2006.