For Immediate Release
April 13, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

April 16 is National Healthcare Decision Day

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Cancer Partnership are joining Kansas Health Ethics, Inc., and the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City to promote National Healthcare Decisions Day on Friday, April 16.  The purpose is to provide Americans with tools to determine how to make advance healthcare decisions, including designating a healthcare proxy to speak on their behalf. Although this can be a difficult topic, many helpful resources exist.  Legal documents may be downloaded from www.kansashealthethics.org or are available from hospitals, hospices, and other agencies.

"KDHE is glad to be a part of this partnership,” said Roderick Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. "We want to encourage Kansans to take advantage of the resources when making these types of healthcare decisions.”

The Center for Practical Bioethics also helps provide guidance through Caring Conversations, an education initiative designed to help individuals and their loved ones share meaningful conversation while making practical preparations for end-of-life decisions. Each copy of Caring Conversations includes a healthcare directive document and a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions. Copies of Caring Conversations are available for $1 by calling 1-800-344-3829 or can be downloaded for free at www.practicalbioethics.org.  Additional resources include Courageous Conversations, designed to help military veterans live out their lives with dignity and honor, and Caring Conversations for Young Adults, a starting point for young adults and families to talk about organ donation, do-not-resuscitate orders, and serious illness.  Copies also are available in Braille.

For additional information and resources about end-of-life care, visit www.cancerkansas.org and click on Patient/Caregiver/Survivor, then Support/Palliative/End-of-Life Information.