National Healthcare Decisions Day help families plan ahead

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Monday is National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Members with NEA Baptist Clinic spent the day trying to get people informed about what they need to be doing now.

Behavioral Health Specialist with NEA Baptist Clinic Jennifer Maley said this day is a nationwide effort to inform.

“It’s an effort to really encourage people to consider and think about their healthcare wishes and decisions," Maley said. "To consider things like a living will, power of attorney. A lot of people use forms called, ‘The Five Wishes.' Anything in that ballpark is what we’re talking about. We’re trying to educate and support our patients.”

Maley said getting this information to people is extremely important.

“A lot of people think they can just tell their family members what their wishes are and that they’ll remember them and that they’ll be comfortable to act on those decisions when and if the time ever comes," Maley said. "But the truth is our family and friends love us and they care for us. And so, if we don’t take that extra step to just put it on paper and make sure that it’s written well so that it relieves that burden and honestly that guilt from some of our family and friends. That’s why I think it’s very, very important. It just makes it so much easier on them when and if the time comes that we have to use those documents.”

"Start the conversation now," Maley said. "Start it early. Have it often. It's one of those things that's really uncomfortable for people to even think about because we just don't like to think about what may happen one day. But if we think about it now and act proactively, then it helps relieve that burden and that stress."

Maley also recommends that you have an open dialogue with your physicians.

That you talk candidly about any issues you're having with your health in order to get a good picture of what your health is like.

Then share that information with your family.

"This one day is an effort to promote the services we offer," Manley said. "If anyone would like to speak with me or someone here about making those decisions in the future, I can do family visits where they have family or friends present with them. We can do it individually. I have all the paperwork here, and we can complete it here and it would be legal. So, this service is still available."

For more information about National Healthcare Decisions Day, click here.

For more information about services available at NEA Baptist Clinic, call (870) 936-8000 or click here.

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