B-TAC

The Blog to Transform Advanced Care

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Honoring Choices® Tennessee Works To Make Advance Directives An Employee Benefit

Honoring Choices® Tennessee (HCTN) became a member of C-TAC last year because it believes C-TAC’s work at the national level is critical to making Advance Care Planning user-friendly at the state level. Specifically C-TAC’s work toward state reciprocity—ensuring that legal ACP conversations happening in one state are valid in all others—is very important to HCTN’s work in “normalizing” advance care planning.

Research from Tennessee indicates most working-age individuals believe their employer, typically their health benefits provider, is the place they should look to get information about advance directives and how to create them. Relatively few human resources professionals/departments in our state are familiar with advance care planning and its importance.

In 2015, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Health and other leaders convened a group of more than 15 statewide organizations to help educate Tennesseans about the importance of Advance Care Planning. That effort, Advance Directives @ Work in TN, is spearheaded by Honoring Choices® Tennessee, a nonprofit organization collaborating with Vanderbilt University’s Center for Quality Aging, to take the message into the workplace.

The Patient Self-Determination Act requires healthcare providers to inform adult patients at the time of admission about their rights under state law to make decisions about medical care. These rights include the ability to craft an advance directive—in Tennessee an umbrella term including a living will and healthcare power of attorney.

The negative consequences of millions of adults foregoing advance directives are numerous for employers, the health-care system and patients. High healthcare costs and family hardship are among the main concerns.

Research suggests that $1.7 billion in annual health-care expenses could be saved if all adults had an advance directive. Advance directives also help to avoid unwanted, futile medical intervention that can cause anguish for loved ones.

This year, more than 65 million Americans or roughly 30 percent of the population are providing 20 hours of care for chronically ill, disabled, or aging family members. Roughly 73% of caregivers are working full-time or part-time and are juggling the demands of caregiving, home, family and work.

Resources on the subject of advance directives can help patients face the complex issues in modern medicine and encourage them to take charge of their end-of-life care. Such actions can reduce health-care costs while preserving patient dignity and quality of care.

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