National Healthcare Decisions Day | April 16
(Last Updated On: April 13, 2023)


National Healthcare Decisions Day educates and empowers the public and healthcare providers to take part in important advance care planning. 


In the absence of an advanced directive, medical personnel relies on family members to determine what a patient’s wishes might be. Family members also often struggle to make these difficult decisions. However, many of these difficult decisions can be avoided with advanced planning. 

The observance emphasizes the importance of advance directives, and national, state and community organizations come together in a collaborative effort to promote the day. These entities are working together to ensure the availability of the information, opportunity, and access needed to document health care decisions.

While advance care planning seems like a difficult discussion, the alternative leaves family members struggling to make the decision for you. Completing an advanced directive removes the burden from our loved ones. It also frees us to have more pleasant conversations in the future. 


  • Plan ahead for your important healthcare decisions.
  • Find the documents you need now, complete them, and put them where they are easily accessible.
  • Discuss your decisions with your loved ones.
  • Let them know where your documents are in the event you have a healthcare event, too.
  • Encourage other family members to complete an advance directive, too.
  • Don’t place the burden of these decisions on your loved ones.
  • Use #HealthcareDecisionsDay to post on social media.


Nathan Kottkamp, McGuireWoods LLP, founded National Healthcare Decisions Day to help educate the general public about advance directives. To learn more, visit The Conversation Project

Healthcare Decision FAQ

Q. Where can I get an advance directive?
A. There are several options for obtaining an advance directive.

  • Healthcare provider
  • An attorney or state bar association
  • Health department
  • Care facility for the aging

Q. Is “Do not resuscitate” or a DNR the same as an advance directive?
A. No. But a DNR can be part of an advance directive.

April 16th Celebrated History


Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus received patent no. 537,442 for his invention of a “machine for embossing photographs.”


Less than a year after becoming the first woman in the United States to obtain a pilot’s license, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly a plane across the English Channel.


The Fibber McGee and Molly radio comedy show aired for the first time on the NBC Blue Network. Jim and Marion Jordan played the roles of Fibber and Molly along with a full complement of actors playing Doctor Gamble, Mayor LaTrivia, and Thockemorton Gildersleeve among many others who lived in Wistful Vista.


NASA launches Apollo 16. The three-person crew included Commander John Young, Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke, and Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly. Their mission was the space program’s fifth crewed lunar landing and tenth crewed mission overall.

April 16th Celebrated Birthdays

Flora Batson Bergen – 1864

The concert soprano and baritone earned international acclaim in the late 19th century. Some of her songs include “Six Feet of Earth Make Us All One Size” and “The Last Rose of Summer.”

Wilbur Wright – 1867

From a young age, Wilbur Wright and his brother, Orville, developed a fascination with flight. Inspired by a rubber band-propelled helicopter created by the inventor, Alphonse Penaud, the brothers would dedicate their lives to the invention. They first found success manufacturing bicycles including the Van Cleve and St. Clair.

They never lost interest in flight and continued to develop designs. By 1902, the future aviators were making progress with their gliders and nearing a successful mechanical flight. They sold their bicycle business and on December 17, 1903, achieved their goal.

Charlie Chaplin – 1889

The British comedic actor, director, and film producer of the silent era is best known for developing his staple character the Tramp. In 1919, Chaplin joined Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to establish United Artists.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 1947

For 20 years, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played center in the National Basketball Association. He remains the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and during his career, he brought home six national championships – one with the Milwaukee Bucks and the other five with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Join the

Stay up to date on upcoming national days and Celebrate Every Day!