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Aspirus joins ‘Honoring Choices Wisconsin’

Oct 1, 2013

WAUSAU, Wis. – Aspirus 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.

Aspirus 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.

“If we share our care wishes with family members while we are healthy, physicians and other health care professionals will be better equipped to honor our wishes if a crisis occurs,” said Aspirus Chief Clinical Integration Officer Bud Chumbley, M.D. “Aspirus is proud to participate in this important initiative.”

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.

Aspirus joins ThedaCare, 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.

Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. With more than 6,000 employees, Aspirus serves people in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan through an extensive hospital and clinic network, home health & hospice care, pharmacies, critical care, medical goods, nursing homes, a philanthropic & research foundation, and an affiliated physician network.