National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16!

The Conversation Project talks about National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) as a day “to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.”

NHDD was founded in 2008 by Nathan Kottkamp, a Virginia-based health care lawyer, to provide clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare decision-making to both the public and providers/facilities through the widespread availability and dissemination of simple, free, and uniform tools (not just forms) to guide the process.

NHDD is a series of independent events held across the country, supported by a national media and public education campaign. In all respects, NHDD is inclusive and brings a variety of players in the larger healthcare, legal, and religious community together to work on a common project, to the benefit of patients, families, and providers.

A key goal of NHDD is to demystify healthcare decision-making and make the topic of advance care planning inescapable. Among other things, NHDD helps people understand that advance healthcare decision-making includes much more than living wills; it is a process that should focus first on conversation and choosing an agent.

As of June 2016, The Conversation Project has been responsible for the management NHDD.  NHDD’s founder, Nathan Kottkamp, continues to be involved in NHDD and provides leadership by ensuring the maintenance of NHDD’s high quality resources and support for the community.

Below are some resources & ideas to inspire you in your efforts this year.

We know that this is a hard time to do hard work, so we have organized the different activities into basic, intermediate, and advanced categories based on level of participation and effort.

Basic Participation

  • Social Media Posts
    • Social Media post ideas and hashtags
    • Did You Know? Social Media Series highlights the many ways an individual may need to make medical decisions for others (based on the Washington state hierarchy).

    Click each GIF to view. Right click to either copy or download the GIF.

    • National Healthcare Decisions Day-specific GIFs.

    Click each GIF to view. Right click to either copy or download the GIF.

  • Buzzfeed-style Quiz

    Whose Health Care Agent Are You?

    Click here to access the quiz outside of this webpage.

      • If you answered yes to any question where someone else could also answer yes, ALL of you would need to agree on any decisions made.
      • Be sure you have talked with your loved ones about their goals, values and what’s important to them so you can make an informed decision.
      • If your number is 0, are you sure? You answered “No” to everything. But are you sure you aren’t someone’s health care decision maker?
      • Be sure to talk to the people in your life to see if you have been chosen as their health care decision maker, such as a close friend.

    Check out our hierarchy poster which lists in order who would be asked to make medical decisions in Washington State.

  • Play ACP games





  • Other ideas
    • Promoting NHDD
    • Having an advance care planning conversation
    • Cross promotion of another’s events
    • Watch videos about ACP
    • Send postcard to invite loved ones to have conversation
    • Repost your own recorded materials
      • Podcast
      • Webinars
      • Presentations
      • Interviews
    • Interactive Display (up for ~2 weeks). Make a shared (outdoor) public space meaningful and engaging.
      • Create a “Before I Die” wall
      • Provide a “selfie spot” for people to photo and post when they have completed documentation:
        • Use #IGotMyAD or some other hashtag
    • Share a list of podcasts about ACP or share playlists that inspire ACP
      • Visit our Spotify collection here
    • See additional ideas from 2021

Intermediate Participation

  • 5-day ACP Challenge

    5 minutes, 5 days, 5 questions, 1 good start

    Encourage friends, family, employees, patients or anyone else to answer one question each day. They can choose how to record their answers:

    • Written down, such as a social media post each day, a blog, hand-written list
    • Audio recording, such as a voice recorder or a voicemail to yourself
    • Video recording, such as a cell phone recording, Instagram post, story, video diary, etc.

  • Other ideas
    • Be a guest speaker at a radio or T.V. show
    • Record your own podcast
    • Host a Your Voice, Your Choice class
    • Host a live presentation (YouTube live, Facebook Live, Lunch-and Learn, podcast)
    • Create fun giveaways (hand out fortune cookies with ACP related fortunes!)
    • See additional ideas from 2021

Advanced Participation

  • Honoring Choices the play

    Honoring Choices PNW offered 3 different adaptations on 3 different days in April 2021.

    Bob, father to Denise and Maggie, receives a terminal cancer diagnosis and resists any health care planning.

    Here are sample marketing images from 2021.

    Download Exploring Choices, the companion guide for the play, here.

    The playwright who created Honoring Choices the play is open to connecting with folks who want to commission a play event. Reach out to us if you’d like to be connected.

  • Whaddya Know the game show

    In April 2021, Honoring Choices PWN hosted Whaddya Know with celebrity game show host, Robert Walden.

    The only game show where the points don’t count but the answers really matter.

    You can play this game with as little as 2 players up to as many players as you want!

    Questions based on The Death Deck are asked to game participants; you’ll write down answers. Compare with your partner or team to see who matches the most!

    You can use our Whaddya Know the game show PPT as a template to create your own game show.

    Here are sample marketing images from 2021.

  • Request a local, regional proclamation

    Each year, HCPNW requests a Governor’s proclamation. Here is the Governor’s proclamation from 2019.

    You can request a local and/or regional proclamation as well.

  • Other ideas
    • Incentivizing Employee Wellness
      • Use events and activities from the Basic and Intermediate sections to create a larger program