Respecting Choices is one of the leading organizations for Advance Care Planning Training. They originally started in 1985 when Bud Hammes, a clinical ethicist, identified a need to improve the healthcare system to help patients express their healthcare wishes before they were unable to make decisions for themselves. He started a program educating dialysis nurses how to talk with their patients about making healthcare wishes known. This resulted in an increase of advance directives (AD) – from 1/60 to 30/60 and a decrease in moral distress for family and providers when decisions to continue or discontinue life-sustaining treatment were needed.
The program grew into community wide education when Gunderson Health System and the Lutheran Health System appointed a task force to develop an Advance Care Planning Program- Respecting Choices. The first Facilitator training took place in 1993 along with the creation of organizational polices, patient engagement materials, medical record keeping and provider education.
With funding secured, the La Crosse Advance Directive Study (LADS I) took place that allowed them to study the impact of the Respecting Choices program. What they found was: 85% of decedents had some type of written AD, 96% of these documents were found in the medical record of the treating health organization, and preferences to forgo treatment in these documents were consistent with treatment decisions 98% of the time. By 1999, they began educating health systems across the world.
In 2007-2008 LADS II study using the same methodology, same population and health facilities used in LADS I was conducted to see if results were maintained after 10 years. They found that prevalence of Advance Directives rose to 90%, written directives were in the decedent’s medical records 99% of the time and treatment was consistent with preferences 99% of the time.
In 2017 Respecting Choices program and team members transitioned to C-TAC Innovations, a new program of the Coalition to Transform Advance Care (C-TAC) where they continue to provide training for individuals, organizations and communities with consultation services that includes leadership engagements, physician curriculum, First Step ACP, Next Steps ACP, and Advanced Steps ACP implementation services.
If you would like your staff or organization to have this evidence-based, patient-centered training, visit the Respecting Choices website for more information on their Spring 2023 Course Dates.