National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) — April 16

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.

Sample videos from other groups promoting NHDD:



National Healthcare Decisions Day (sometimes referred to as NHDD) is an annual initiative celebrated on April 16th to encourage and empower people to begin or continue conversations about their wishes for care through the end of life. NHDD is an initiative to educate people on the importance of advance care planning. It encourages individuals to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be


NHDD was founded in 2008 by attorney Nathan Kottkamp to provide clear, concise, and consistent information on values-based, healthcare decision-making for individuals, healthcare providers/facilities and community leaders through the widespread availability and dissemination of simple, free, and uniform tools (not just forms) to guide the process.

The date was based on the Benjamin Franklin quote that “[I]n this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” So, do your taxes each year by the 15th and review your health care wishes each year on the 16th. We want to normalize reviewing this each year and recognize that wishes or the people in your life may change.

Over time it has grown into a national series of independent events hosted through the month of April by hundreds of community groups: healthcare systems, legal services, faith-based organizations, book clubs… you name it, someone has brought it to that audience. In all respects, NHDD is inclusive and brings this wide variety of players together to work on a common project, to the benefit of individuals, patients, families, and providers. A key goal of NHDD is to demystify healthcare decision-making and make the topic of advance care planning accessible and approachable. Among other things, NHDD helps people understand that advance healthcare decision-making includes much more than living wills; it is a process that should focus first on conversations and choosing an agent.

As of June 2016, The Conversation Project has been responsible for the management, finances, and structure of NHDD.  NHDD’s founder, Nathan Kottkamp, continues to be involved in NHDD and provides leadership by ensuring the maintenance of NHDD’s high quality resources and support for the community.

We invite you to set April 16th as the date by which you plan to have a conversation with someone important in your life about your, or their, wishes. Maybe you can bring it out a layer and normalize this with people in your social network – or your employer or faith community. As you know, these aren’t just conversations we have with doctors and lawyers, and we don’t have to wait until we’re sick to have them.  Let us know how we can help! Read more about NHDD’s founding: https://theconversationproject.org/nhdd/origins/


Across the country, every healthcare facility will participate as the flagship venues for the public engagement. Other participating organizations/facilities that have their own physical spaces will engage in activities as well. Those organizations that lack physical spaces will work in conjunction with others or at non-healthcare venues (libraries, grocery stores, drug stores, etc.) to support the initiative. A variety of churches, synagogues, and mosques around the country will also support the effort by highlighting the importance of advance care planning with their congregations.

Contact Us

Please email us at nhdd@ihi.org for any questions related to National Healthcare Decisions Day.

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