For Immediate Release
April 15, 2011

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

KDHE Supports National Healthcare Decisions Day

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Cancer Partnership are joining efforts with the Center for Practical Bioethics to promote the fourth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, 2011.

“The day is designed to encourage individuals and families to make practical preparations for end-of-life decisions,” said Dr. Bob Moser, MD, Secretary of KDHE. ”This includes the designation of someone to speak for you when you can no longer speak for yourself.”

The Center for Practical Bioethics offers a tool to promote those discussions, a booklet called Caring Conversations, which helps individuals and their families share meaningful conversation while making practical preparations for serious illness or the end-of-life. Each copy of Caring Conversations includes a healthcare directive document and a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions.

“April 16 is intended to be a social prompt,” says Myra Christopher, president and CEO of the Center for Practical Bioethics, “to give people a reason to have conversations that are too often delayed or postponed. And yes, the connection is with death and taxes.”

“It’s a critical opportunity for patients and families to have the comfort that their wishes and values will be represented,” says Marshall Scott, chaplain and manager for spiritual wellness at Saint Luke’s South Hospital in Overland Park, KS. “We know what the patient wants and we can follow those wishes.”

Christopher says the rallying cry is Have You Had “The Talk?” "We believe strongly that the focus ought not to be on documents; instead, the focus needs to be on communication.”

Copies of Caring Conversations may be downloaded free from www.practicalbioethics.org. Hard copies may be ordered by phone at 1-800-344-3829 for a small fee. For more information about the Kansas Cancer Partnership, visit www.cancerkansas.org.