Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: National Healthcare Decisions Day


April 19 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. It is a time to reflect on the type of care you might like if you became unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself. It’s a day that serves to remind us of the importance of talking with family and close friends about our wishes. 

Often advance directives are also mentioned in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day.  An advance directive is a form that helps document the wishes that are discussed. 

“The document states exactly what you want as far as treatment,” notes Sandra Westmoreland, MSW, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. “You might want everything done and you may want to be on life support.  Or, you may not want to be on any machines to keep you alive,” noted Westmoreland.  

Medical professionals say all adults should complete an advance directive. 

“Anyone over the age of 18 should have one.  Life is very unpredictable and we don’t know what is going to happen,” said Westmoreland. 

While it’s not always comfortable talking about the end of life, or unexpected tragedies, having the conversation can actually be a gift to loved ones, as they’ll know how to carry out your wishes. 

“You let your family know what it is you want so in the event of something terrible happening they’ll know what you want and they won’t have to guess and maybe later kind of second guess themselves and feel guilty for the decisions that they made,” shared Westmoreland. 

Click here to download a advance care planning documents. For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health, please email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

Do you have health questions? Get the answers every Monday morning from the experts in our feature: Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

To submit your questions, email them to healthquestions@nbc29.com. Then, tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital