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Honoring Choices Wisconsin expands its reach

Release Date: March 25, 2014
Contact: Kendi Parvin - 608.442.3748 kendi.parvin@wismed.org

MADISON (March 25, 2014) — Honoring Choices Wisconsin (HCW), the Wisconsin Medical Society’s initiative to promote advance care planning, is rapidly expanding its reach as nine health care organizations launch the program across Wisconsin this month. ADORAY Home Health and Hospice, Baldwin; Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, Madison; Aspirus, Wausau; Baldwin Area Medical Center, Baldwin; Froedtert, Milwaukee; Mayo Clinic Health System, Eau Claire; St. Croix Regional Medical Center, St. Croix Falls; ThedaCare, Appleton; and UW Health Partners Watertown Regional Medical Center, Watertown, are now offering facilitated advance care planning conversations to patients at 14 different sites.

Since the first group of participants began offering advance care planning conversations with patients in March 2013, more than 1000 patients have discussed their future medical decisions, including end-of-life preferences, with facilitators trained through Honoring Choices Wisconsin. The conversations help patients understand their health care treatment options, appoint a health care agent, clarify goals, weigh options about the kind of care and treatment they would want or not want, and communicate their wishes to family, friends, clergy, physicians and others. These early conversations can have an extraordinary effect on the care patients receive if they become unable to speak for themselves and families are faced with difficult decisions.

“Physicians and other health professionals have struggled for years to encourage and enable these crucial conversations, and patients often don’t know where to start,” said Tim Bartholow, MD, the Society’s chief medical officer. “As physicians, we feel that health organizations have an obligation to engage patients on this important matter. Honoring Choices Wisconsin is ensuring that advance care planning becomes the standard of care across the state.”

Through HCW, the Wisconsin Medical Society serves as convener, coordinator and catalyst to build clinical pilot projects based on proven concepts, methodologies, training systems and materials, combined with outreach in communities across the state. The advance care planning facilitations are based on the Respecting Choices® First Steps® model.

The second round of organizations join six first-round participants: Community Care, Inc., Milwaukee; Fort HealthCare in collaboration with Rainbow HospiceCare and the ADRC of Jefferson County, Fort Atkinson; Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Madison; Meriter Health Services, Madison; ProHealth Care, Waukesha; and UW Health, Madison.

The name “Honoring Choices Wisconsin” is used under license from the East Metro Medical Society Foundation.

RESPECTING CHOICES® is a registered mark used under license from Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, Inc.