For Immediate Release


Contact: Barbara Erb
U.S. Living Will Registry
Phone: (908) 654-1441/Fax: (908) 654-1919

U.S. Living Will Registry Helps Hospitals
Educate Public About Advance Directives

Unveils new program to assist hospitals host "Living Will Fairs"

Westfield, N.J. (December 11, 2000) - The U.S. Living Will Registry today launched its free, online "Living Will Fair" program to help hospitals nationwide educate the public about advance directives. Commonly known as living wills or health care proxies, advance directives allow people to make their health care choices known if they are incapacitated. Presently, only 20% of Americans have an advance directive. "Living Will Fairs", public events where people learn about and prepare advance directives, are increasingly being used by hospitals to increase awareness in these important documents. By hosting these events, hospitals provide a valuable service to ensure that people's wishes are known, and take the decision making burden off family members. This new program makes it easy for hospitals to host an event in their community.

"Living will fairs are a great way for hospitals to improve the quality of end-of-life care in this country. We are proud to offer the "Living Will Fair" Guide to help hospitals provide a much needed service to their communities and bring peace of mind to families everywhere," said Dr. Joseph Barmakian, Founder of the Registry.

Any hospital can visit the U.S. Living Will Registry's web site ( and quickly download the program for their use. The guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to plan, publicize and hold the event. From obtaining the support of attorneys and community leaders, to press material, manpower requirements, parking considerations and even refreshment suggestions, the program addresses every aspect of planning, implementing and hosting a great outreach event.

Hospitals are required by federal law to provide education to their communities about advance directives, and many hospitals across the country have recognized that hosting a "Living Will Fair" is a great way to teach the public about these important documents. In an event hosted by Lenoir Memorial Hospital in Kinston, North Carolina, over 300 advance directives were prepared and registered with the U.S. Living Will Registry over a two-day period. In September, Englewood Hospital in New Jersey registered over 100 documents in just two hours, and other hospitals across the country have held similar successful events.

Advance directives, living wills and health care proxies, allow a person to communicate their choices about the kinds of treatment they want, or name someone to make decisions for them, if they become incapacitated by illness. By specifying their wishes in an advance directive, individuals can rest assured that their loved ones will never be placed in the agonizing position of having to make decisions about life support or end-of-life care. Doctors, too, are grateful for the documents as they provide a clear direction for the treatment of the patient. An advance directive provides a window into a person's thoughts when they were capable of making clear choices about the care they want, or don't want, in the event of serious illness.

Unfortunately, the documents are often not available when they are needed. Studies show that 35% of advance directives are not available when the time comes to use them. Registering an advance directive with the U.S. Living Will Registry eliminates this problem. The Registry electronically stores advance directives and makes them available to hospitals across the country 24 hours a day.

Any hospital can call the Registry's toll-free number, 1-800-LIV-WILL, to see if a patient has an advance directive. The document is then automatically faxed to the hospital and placed in the medical record. Because only hospitals have access to the documents, privacy and confidentiality are maintained. The service is provided free of charge to the public.

For more information about the free services provided by the U.S. Living Will Registry, including the "Living Will Fair" Guide, visit their web site:, or call toll-free 1-800-LIV-WILL (1-800-548-9455).



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