Category Archives: Social Health

National Healthcare Decision Day

Guest post by Celeste Toombs RN, MSN

“It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.”

In keeping with the wisdom of my favorite ‘founding father’ Benjamin FranklinIn this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. After tax day is National Healthcare Decision Day.

End of Life decisions are complex and uncomfortable to have real-life conversations about.

That said, the simple truth is: ‘If you don’t do it for yourself and for your family, no one will do it for you’.

Is there any good news?

Yes, Yes a thousand times, Yes!

First piece of good news- You can do this! You can do it whether you are the most knowledgeable healthcare provider or someone who has never read an oral thermometer and are still mystified by the intricacies of taking a blood pressure.

Second piece of good news- Technology is now a tool that can be used to help with document completion and communication.

Now to the ‘nuts and bolts’ of North Carolina Advance Health Care Directive Registry provided by North Carolina Department Of The Secretary Of State. There are four types of Advanced Health Care Directives:

  • Health care power of attorney
  • Declaration of a desire for a natural death.
  • Advance instruction for mental health treatment.
  • Declaration of an anatomical gift.

The Secretary of State website explains each directive has a distinct purpose:

  • A health care power of attorney allows you to name a person you trust to make your health care decisions if you cannot make them yourself
  • A declaration of a desire for a natural death (or living will) is a statement that you desire not to have your life prolonged by extraordinary measures if you have a terminal or incurable illness or if you are in a vegetative state
  • An advance instruction for mental health treatment makes a declaration of instructions, information and preferences regarding your mental health treatment. It also states that you are aware that the advance instruction authorizes a mental health treatment provider to act according to your wishes. It may also outline your consent or refusal of mental health treatment.
  • A declaration of an anatomical gift allows anyone over the age of 18 to make a gift by will, organ donor card or other document.

Registration of your Advance Health Care Directive with the Secretary of State is entirely voluntary. The fee is $10 for each Directive. There is no charge to revoke the filing of any of your directives.

Filing Health Care Directives requires notarization, but does not require an attorney…..No worries, there are plenty other end of life plans that can use the services of an attorney.

All of the forms can be downloaded for review before filing them.

If you have never seen one of these forms, use Healthcare Decision Day to become familiar with the forms.

If you are familiar with the forms then Health Care Decision Day is the time for you to act.

The theme for this year’s National Healthcare Decision Day highlights why now is the time to start a conversation and file your directives.

  “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.”

Live Well!


Celeste Toombs, RC MSNCeleste is known as ‘The Bucket List Lady’ and is committed to helping families demystify End Of Life (EOL) Pre-Planning with an educational approach relevant to all generations. As a Nurse, I have experience working with families from ‘womb to tomb’ and teaching Nursing Students of all levels. Stay tuned for news of upcoming workshops in the Raleigh/Durham area.

Follow me on Twitter: @bktlistlady
Website: coming soon

 Websites for further information