Honoring Choices Wisconsin Welcomes ThedaCare

Facilitated Advance Care Planning Conversations Planned for 2014

ThedaCare will begin building improved advance care planning systems this fall through participation in Honoring Choices Wisconsin (HCW), the Wisconsin Medical Society’s initiative to promote the benefits of and improve processes for advance care planning across the state. ThedaCare is the only healthcare system in Northeast Wisconsin participating.

ThedaCare and several other organizations will offer patients facilitated advance care planning conversations at select sites beginning in March 2014. These 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. The systems and facilitation skills are taught using the Respecting Choices® First Steps® program, a pioneering approach developed in La Crosse.

“In my years as a family practice physician, I personally saw the stress many families went through because they had not shared their care wishes and prepared an advance directive,” said ThedaCare Chief Medical Officer Greg Long, MD. “If we all talk about this important topic with our families, physicians and other health care providers will be better equipped to honor our patients’ wishes. ThedaCare is proud to join this important initiative and encourages other health systems and physicians across the state to join us.”

Advance care planning is a process of understanding, reflecting on and discussing future medical decisions, including end-of-life preferences. Through Honoring Choices Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Medical Society serves as a convener, coordinator and catalyst to build clinical pilot projects and grassroots community outreach about advance care planning across the state.

ThedaCare joins Aspirus, Mayo Clinic-Northwest Wisconsin, Watertown Regional Medical Center and Agrace HospiceCare as the newest participants in Honoring Choices Wisconsin. The original six original organizations participating in HCW began offering facilitated conversations with patients in March. Since then, more than 500 patients have discussed their future medical decisions at Community Care, Inc., Milwaukee; Fort HealthCare, Fort Atkinson; Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Madison; Meriter Health Services, Madison; ProHealth Care, Waukesha; and UW Health, Madison.

With more than 12,000 members dedicated to the best interests of their patients, the Wisconsin Medical Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state. For more information about Honoring Choices Wisconsin, visit www.honoringchoiceswi.org.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.