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April 9, 2013

ABA President to All Americans: Develop Advance Directives While You Still Can

April 13 is National Health Care Decisions Day. It was established in 2007 to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. The _, in an effort to encourage conversations about advance directives, issued the following radio news release for broadcast nationwide:

Announcer:

If you were too sick or injured to speak for yourself, who would make health decisions for you?  Do they have the legal authority?  Do they know what you would want?

April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day and the nation’s largest lawyers’ organization is urging you to answer those questions.

_ President Laurel Bellows:

No one likes to think about – let alone talk about – end-of-life care. But — the best time to do so is when you’re healthy. It doesn’t have to be a costly, complex legal process. It should start as a thoughtful kitchen table conversation with your loved ones — discussing questions such as, “What’s more important — the length of life or the quality of life?” And, “What does quality of life mean to you?”

Announcer:

Once you have answers, the only real legal document you need is one that names a health care agent, proxy or representative — terms that vary from state to state.  You can find valuable, free resources by going to ambar.org/HealthDecisions. I’m John Driden.

The ABA is one of the original co-sponsors of National Health Care Decisions Day.  The ABA Commission on Law and Aging strengthens and secures the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life and quality of care of elders. It carries out this mission through research, policy development, technical assistance, advocacy, education and training.