Law school hosts public program for National Health Care Decisions Day
Public Relations - Published: April 14, 2009
National Health Care Decisions Day 2009 will be observed in the First State with a free public education forum at Widener Law designed to help Delawareans discover and declare their end-of-life decision making preferences.

The School of Law and its Health Law Institute  have joined with the Delaware Academy of Medicine, Christiana Care Health System, Delaware Hospice and the Delaware End-of-Life Coalition to present a program on Thursday, April 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom.

NatlHealthCareDayPromoThe event will feature roughly 60 minutes of presentations on topics ranging from the nature of end-of-life care, people’s legal rights under Delaware law – particularly after they lose the capacity to control what happens to their bodies – and what kind of paperwork is involved in declaring one’s wishes in advance. The remaining 30 minutes will be devoted to an open discussion between the presenters and the audience, with ample opportunity for questions.

Presenters will include medical and legal professionals, along with representatives of the clergy and hospice. Widener Law Associate Professor Andrew J. Fichter, executive director of institute programs at the school, will moderate. Blank advance directive forms and other pertinent paperwork will be available to take home.

“This program is intended to assist people of all ages, not just the elderly,” Fichter said. “People who put their preferences in writing ensure their last wishes are carried out even when circumstances prohibit them from speaking for themselves. We encourage people to join us and take the simple steps necessary to avoid the confusion and family controversies that can arise when a person becomes incapacitated and lacks a living will.”

National Health Care Decisions Day, observed with programs and events across the country on April 16, is an initiative designed, in part, to encourage people to express their wishes regarding health care. More information is available at nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org/. Localized information can be found at delawaredecisions.org.

Widener’s Health Law Institute is ranked among the nation’s top-10 programs in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools. The school has maintained a near-constant presence among the elite health law programs singled out by the news magazine in recent years.