End-of-life conversations can be difficult to have, and we sometimes struggle to know where to start. But Honoring Choices Wisconsin (HCW) is showing that given the opportunity, people will readily engage on this important topic, known as advance care planning.
22 Regional Groups Commit to Advance Care Planning
An initiative of the Wisconsin Medical Society to promote and improve advance care planning across the state, HCW now has 22 health care organizations including UW Health, Meriter UnityPoint, Group Health Cooperative of South-Central Wisconsin, Fort HealthCare, Watertown Regional Medical Center, and Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care. Each of these organizations has committed to advance care planning as a process of reflection and communication for future medical decisions, and is moving steadily toward making these conversations a routine and standard part of care.
Conversations and quality care make all the difference for patients. Instead of confusion, conflict and guilt when a decision has to be made for a loved one, families find they can make confident decisions and focus on the things that matter. Physicians and health care staff can also have the confidence they’re providing wanted and appropriate care — instead of navigating their patients’ confusion and stress.
Community Involvement and Events
HCW is now moving beyond the health care settings and into the places where communities gather. We’ve heard from leaders in health care, religious organizations and public health and social services that advance care planning should be a priority for the populations they serve. For example, Meriter’s Association of Spiritual Caregivers are providing information and facilitation to faith organizations across the area.
HCW partners will be hosting events statewide on the National Health Care Decisions Day on April 16. Visit www.honoringchoiceswi.org to download an advance directive and find resources to begin the conversation.
Reaching a National Audience with Video
All of this local success coincides with the growth of a national conversation about medical crises and how we die. The Wisconsin-created Consider the Conversation films are reaching a national audience through public television. Wisconsin is recognized as one of the most innovative states in the country and HCW has received inquiries from 20 states asking how its work might be replicated.
HCW recently announced a new collaboration with Wisconsin Public Television to create six training and outreach videos with the goal of disseminating information about advance care planning. These two- to 10-minute videos will be used in presentations in professional and community settings. The first video is shown at the top of this blog post.
HCW Needs You
HCW is seeking contributors for the remaining five videos. Please call me at 608.442.3766 for more information. Thank you for your continued support for Honoring Choices Wisconsin.
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