Northeast Georgia Medical Center Observes National Healthcare Decisions Day

Published: Thursday, April 16, 2015

Making decisions about your health care today can save your loved ones from tough choices later.  That is the message of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), which Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is observing today with information centers at both NGMC Gainesville and NGMC Braselton.

National Healthcare Decisions Day is observed annually and is aimed at increasing the number of Americans who have completed an advance directive (“living will”), in which they name the person who will make medical decisions for them in the event they are seriously ill and can’t speak for themselves.  Experts say less than 30% of Americans have completed an advance directive, even though all people age 18 and older should have one.

 “It’s understandable that people would put off discussing the topic of serious illness and death, but it’s essential to have this family conversation in advance,” says Sam Johnson, MD, chief medical officer of Northeast Georgia Health System.  “It’s a discussion that should take place in the living room, not in a hospital room when it may be too late.”

Northeast Georgia Health System is distributing Aging with Dignity’s Five Wishes – a 12-page document that easily explains personal, family and spiritual matters as well as medical and legal concerns.  Five Wishes is a valuable tool for beginning often difficult family discussions.  It meets the legal requirements of 42 states, including Georgia, and is available in multiple languages in order to address the diverse cultural needs of the community.

Five Wishes deals with the things people say matter most to them,” said Paul Malley, Aging with Dignity President.  “It allows them to clearly state what kind of treatment they want or don’t want so their families aren’t left to guess or second-guess.”

Founded in 1996, Aging with Dignity is a national non-profit organization that seeks to protect the God-given human dignity of the most vulnerable among us.  Five Wishes was created with help from national legal experts, with initial development and distribution funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For additional information about National Healthcare Decisions Day, Five Wishes or Advanced Care Planning, please call NGMC at 770-219-5077.  Further information about National Healthcare Decisions Day is also available at  More information about Five Wishes can be found at



Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a not-for-profit community health system dedicated to improving the health of our community in all we do.  The Health System offers a full range of healthcare services through its hospital in Gainesville, Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) – which is rated Georgia’s #1 Hospital (CareChex®) and one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals (Truven Health Analytics®).  Led by volunteer boards made up of community leaders, the 557-bed Medical Center and its medical staff of more than 500 physicians serve almost 800,000 people in more than 13 counties.  The Health System is also home to Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton, the state’s first net-new hospital in almost 20 years, which opened in April 2015.  Learn more at