April 16th marks the 7th annual NationalHealthcare Decisions Day. Despite recent gains in public awareness of the need for advance care planning, studies show that most Americans do not have an advanced directive or living will that specifies their end-of-life wishes.

According to a 2006 survey published by the Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans have heard of a living will, which specifies the specific medical treatments one wants or doesn’t want at the end of life. However, less than a third of the population has actually created one according to the survey.

A living will is part of the advance directives every adult should put in place in order to make his or her healthcare choices known in case he or she can no longer speak.

National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16th helps focus attention on the importance of advance healthcare planning. If you or someone you care about needs to establish advance directives, visit the National Healthcare Decisions Daywebsite for more information and resources. You can also check out the Resources section of this site to review additional tools.

Have you thought about your own end-of-life healthcare choices? Have you created a living will?