National Healthcare Decisions Day Sends the Message: Be Prepared:

National Healthcare Decisions Day is recognized each year on April 16 to “inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.”

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning is the process used to plan for future medical care, consider what matters most to an individual, share values, beliefs, and goals with loved ones and complete relevant advance care planning document(s) including the health care proxy. The health care proxy lets an individual designate a healthcare agent who can make decisions that reflect what matters most if they are unable to speak for themselves.

What are the Benefits of Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning gives people peace of mind knowing that health care decisions will be made on their behalf by a person they trust. For family members and friends who have been named health care agents, advance care planning provides the confidence to make decisions based on their loved one’s values, beliefs, and personal life goals.

Where Do I Begin?

The advance care planning process begins with conversations with your healthcare provider, family members and trusted friends. Once you identify the person you’d like to serve as your healthcare agent, you document it by completing a health care proxy form . The New York Health Care Proxy form requires two witness signatures. Witnesses can be the agent(s) designated in the document.

Once completed, keep one copy of the form for yourself and share additional copies with your designated healthcare agents, doctors, family members and friends and an attorney. If you haven’t already taken the time to start the advance care planning process, today is the perfect time to start. Look into completing a health care proxy and get the planning process started. Visit to learn more.

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