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April 5, 2023

Governor McMaster Makes April SC Healthcare Decisions Month

Governor McMaster has once again proclaimed April as South Carolina Healthcare Decisions Month, setting the table for statewide participation in National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) on April 16, 2022, which focuses on inspiring, educating, and empowering the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advance care planning (ACP).

Making decisions in advance about your end-of-life care is vitally important. If you become incapacitated or unable to communicate, your family members and healthcare providers may be left in a difficult position, unsure of what your wishes are. By planning ahead and creating advance directives, such as a living will or healthcare power of attorney, you can ensure that your healthcare decisions are made according to your wishes, not someone else’s.

Promoting and educating people on ACP during the month of April helps open communication between patients, families, and healthcare providers. When people discuss their healthcare preferences in advance, it can help to avoid misunderstandings, conflicts, and guilt. Family members may feel more at ease knowing that they are carrying out their loved one’s wishes, and healthcare providers can provide care that is aligned with the patient’s values and beliefs.

In addition, NHDD is an opportunity for people to educate themselves about the importance of healthcare planning. Many individuals are not aware of the legal and ethical issues surrounding healthcare decisions, or they may be hesitant to broach the topic with their loved ones. By participating in NHDD events, individuals can learn about their options, ask questions, and get the support they need to make informed decisions.

During the month of April all healthcare workers and the public are encouraged to focus on advance care planning regarding your healthcare choices should there be a time when you cannot speak for yourself. April is a time for activities to inspire, educate, and empower all South Carolinians to:

  • Think about what is important to you if you cannot speak for yourself,
  • Talk about your choices with your loved ones and healthcare providers,
  • Write your wishes down, and
  • Repeat this process periodically throughout your life.

Call to Action for Healthcare Providers:

  • Incorporate information about SC Health Care Decisions Month into your employee and patient newsletters and portals.
  • Hold educational sessions for staff and sessions for the public using some of the tools in our SC Healthcare Decisions Month Toolkit.
  • Sign the SC Healthcare Decisions Month pledge.
  • Send letters to the editor or volunteer to speak on the importance of advance care planning.
  • Lead by example: think about what care you would want if you could not speak for yourself, talk with loved ones about your choices, execute an advance care planning document (such as the SC Healthcare Power of Attorney), share it with loved ones, and revisit your decisions on an annual basis or whenever there is a significant change in your life, such as marriage or divorce.

By taking the time to create advance directives and discuss their wishes with their loved ones, individuals can ensure that they receive care that is consistent with their values and beliefs. They can also alleviate the burden on their family members, promote open communication with healthcare providers, and preserve their dignity and autonomy. More information on what you can do to celebrate Healthcare Decisions Month is available here.