A health care crisis can be the worst possible time to make legal and medical decisions for yourself or for the care of a loved one.

Yet, that is often the case when complex decisions about care have not been made ahead of time. The physical and emotional impact of accidents and acute illness can make a very stressful situation even more so – and is a hard time to reach sound decisions.

From April 16 to April 22, health care and community organizations, including hospitals, are participating in “National Healthcare Decisions,” a weeklong event to bring understanding and awareness to the value of advance health care planning. This year’s theme, “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late,” underscores the importance of making decisions now about advanced directives and end-of-life care.

To help patients, families and the hospitals that serve them, the AHA, with the cooperation of other organizations, has compiled key resources to enhance educational efforts and raise awareness around this important issue.

Have the talk this National Healthcare Decisions Day … with your family, your friends, your doctor. Know the options. Decide what is right for you. And then put it in writing.