Honoring Choices Wisconsin announces second round of pilot projects

Honoring Choices Wisconsin (HCW), the Wisconsin Medical Society’s (WMS) initiative to promote advance care planning, is expanding its reach as additional health care organizations launch pilots across Wisconsin, including several in southeast Wisconsin.  In this second round of pilot projects, southeast Wisconsin providers Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW Health Partners Watertown Regional Medical Center along with Journal Communications (in collaboration with ProHealth Care) are participating.

The BHCG has long supported advance care planning – a process of understanding, reflecting on and discussing future medical decisions, including end-of-life preferences – as another component of empowering consumers to make informed decisions about their health and health care.  In July 2013, BHCG’s executive director, Dianne Kiehl’s Op-Ed piece about advance care planning appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The first group of pilots, launched in March 2013, included providers throughout the state, as well as ProHealth Care, Fort HealthCare and Community Care, Inc. in southeast Wisconsin.  In this first round of pilots more than 1,000 patients statewide worked with trained facilitators to discuss their future medical decisions, including end-of-life preferences. The pilot projects promote these conversations which are designed to ensure patients make well-informed decisions about their wishes for the end of life and share it with their agent, family, physicians and loved ones.  Such discussions can have a significant impact on the care patients receive if they become unable to speak for themselves and families are faced with making difficult decisions on their behalf.

Discussing end-of-life care is difficult for everyone involved—health care providers, patients and family members. It is, however, imperative that these discussions happen.  The Honoring Choices Wisconsin initiative to help facilitate these conversations is a great step forward to ensure people get the care they want at the end-of-life.  BHCG salutes those providers participating in this very worthy endeavor.

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