Leading Advance Illness Care Provider Supports National Health Care Decisions Day Awareness

Falls Church, VA (April 12, 2021)—The continued COVID-19 pandemic has forced individuals and families across the nation to face the prospects of serious illness, hospitalization, and in some cases, death. A seldom considered issue has taken on new urgency: Who will speak for you in a medical crisis if you can no longer speak for yourself?

The answer is through advance care planning—the act of making decisions about personal wishes for critical medical care and expressing them to loved ones…before you’re sick. At any age, a medical crisis could leave you too ill express your wishes.

With the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990, Congress affirmed the right of every citizen to set forth his or her future healthcare wishes in writing. April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day, an occasion to inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. Capital Caring Health (CCH) is many achieve that goal. Research shows that:

  • 90 percent of Americans say talking about end-of-life care wishes is important. Yet only 30 percent are actually having these conversations.
  • 97 percent of Americans say it’s important to put their wishes in writing. In fact, only 37 percent have done so.

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has prompted more people than ever to think about and discuss such matters. And CCH—the largest non-profit provider of elder health, advanced illness, hospice, and at-home care services in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.—is here to help them.

“Making our medical wishes known, in writing, brings comfort and peace of mind to our families. Caregivers that know our wishes are empowered to advocate for us,” states CCH President and CEO Tom Koutsoumpas. “As the pandemic’s impact to emotional and mental health continue to add up, it’s clear that advance care planning is a gift to patients and families. We encourage everyone to start the conversation.”

Toward that end, CCH’s website features “Conversation Starter Kits” to guide meaningful discussion about end-of-life preferences, including “ice breakers” to ease into the topic. The site also has resources for those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s/dementia, and legal forms to designate and document a healthcare decisionmaker.

By taking the time to discuss and document last wishes, fewer families will struggle with making difficult decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient. Healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues and will be better able to honor individual patient wishes.

To learn more about advance care planning and helpful conversation resources, visit https://www.capitalcaring.org/campaigns/advance-directives/. To speak to someone who can help you start and complete the process via phone, live chat or online meetings, contact Marcie Fairbanks (703-538-2041, mfairbanks@capitalcaring.org) for more information.

Requests to interview Marcie Fairbanks should be sent to communications@capitalcaring.org.

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About Capital Caring Health

Capital Caring Health is the largest non-profit provider of elder health, advanced illness, hospice and at-home care services for the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. area. We provide quality care where people live, supporting dignified, independent aging. For more information, visit capitalcaring.org or call our 24-Hour Care Line at 1-800-869-2136 to learn more.

Contact:
Nancy Cook, VP Marketing & Communications
703-447-4480
ncook@capitalcaring.org