State Medical Society beginning project to get more people prepared for the ends of their livesWisconsin News
-- The State Medical Society is beginning a statewide project to get more people to decide how they want to be cared for at the ends of their lives – when they can no longer make those decisions.
The State Medical Society is beginning a statewide project to get more people to decide how they want to be cared for at the ends of their lives – when they can no longer make those decisions. Eight hospitals and health systems in southern Wisconsin will take part in a pilot project, in which trained staff members will help patients understand their choices and document the end-of-life care they’ll want. The new program is called “Honoring Choices Wisconsin,” and it’s modeled after similar programs in La Crosse and Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Nurses, social workers, chaplains, and others will be trained to help people direct their health planning in advance. The subject is often too sensitive for many people to bring up. But Tim Bartholow of the State Medical Society said quote, “We know the tragedy of not having these conversations.” The society hopes more people will complete “advance directive” forms which spell out they’ll want when they can no longer decide those things for themselves. John Maycroft of the Medical Society said it could result in fewer older people dying in intensive care units – and more people using hospice care. Training for the pilot program begins this month, and the project is scheduled to begin next March. The Medical Society figures the pilot will cost about a quarter-million dollars the first year. The group’s been working on the effort for about the past 12 months.