This Saturday is National Healthcare Decisions Day, and Missoula's St.Patrick Hospital will be hosting a free sign-up event to help with advance-care planning.

Palliative and Advance Care Coordinator Linda Bierbach said the event will run from 8:30 till noon.

"Across the nation, healthcare organizations are highlighting this date to help serve our community and patients complete documents called advance directives," Bierbach said. "Once an advance care directive is signed and witnessed by two people, they are either a living will or a durable power of attorney for healthcare. They are very specific documents that name your healthcare and medical treatment choices for a future event or an emergency."

Bierbach explained the importance of an advance care directive.

"At the time when we might need emergency intervention to best treat our medical care, the people who know us best are our family and our loved ones, and so the doctors and healthcare team want to do the things we want done, based on our values and beliefs," she said. "So by getting it written down and informing our loved ones about what we want, we're best assured to get the care we choose."

Bierbach said volunteers will be on hand to assist visitors one-on-one, and will have all the forms necessary to complete an advance care directive. Appointments are required for the hour-long sessions. Please call ahead to Providence St. Patrick Hospital by calling 327-1950.

The event is free and open to the public. for the official kick-off, Mayor John Engen will sign his own advance directive at 9:30 a.m.