Statewide Initiative Launches to Inspire Washingtonians to Share their Wishes for End-of-Life Care
SEATTLE — Wishes honored. Peace of mind. Family harmony. Quality care. These are the hallmarks of a new initiative launched this week. Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest’s vision is for everyone in Washington state to receive care that honors personal values and goals near the end of life. The initiative is led by the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) and the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA).
Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest is releasing a comprehensive new website www.HonoringChoicesPNW.org, designed to help people create end-of-life care plans and guide them through sharing those plans with loved ones and health care providers. The resources and tools on the website are free and available to anyone. Health care professionals can also find valuable resources on the site and participate in trainings to prepare them for conversations around end-of-life care, recording patient wishes and ultimately honoring those choices.
“There is a tremendous need for people to have early conversations with their families and physicians about the type of care they would want if faced with a life threatening illness. Research shows about 60 percent of people don’t want to burden family with tough decisions, yet nearly as many haven’t discussed their end-of-life care wishes,” said Brian Seppi, MD, president of the WSMA, “Realizing this need, numerous organizations and individuals across the state have embarked on advance care planning efforts in their local communities. WSHA and WSMA are bringing them together to create a statewide strategic plan to further increase awareness, knowledge and resources for Washington residents and health care professionals.”
“We want to ensure that patients receive quality care throughout their lives and have peace of mind that their wishes will be honored near the end of life,” said Carol Wagner, Senior Vice President of Patient Safety at WSHA. “It’s about having the conversation, and the Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest program will be such a valuable resource for the residents and health care professionals of Washington state to create a path to that goal.”
The website will include personal stories to help people understand the importance of making end-of-life care plans and an email tool to invite family and friends to join them in the important process of discussing and creating end-of-life care plans.
Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest is also launching a multi-year, statewide initiative providing training and resources to hospitals and doctors so they are prepared to discuss and honor their patients’ wishes.
“Every patient has different ideas of how much, how little, or what kinds of treatment they want at the end of their life. It’s a personal decision and most don’t realize there are many choices for what their final days will look like,” said Dr. Seppi. “It takes a commitment from all areas of the health care community including physicians, health care organizations, health insurance companies, employers and foundations, to make sure those choices are honored and we are providing the best patient care possible.”