Published on September 08, 2016

Respecting Choices® improves care, expands influence in new partnership

Gundersen Health System’s advance care planning program Respecting Choices® is strengthening its work through a new agreement for better patient care.

Respecting Choices® will be transferred as part of a long-term agreement to the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC).

Since its inception in 1986, Respecting Choices® has become the favored model of advance care planning in more than 130 health systems and medical centers, and with more than 10,000 trained facilitators worldwide. Founded in 2011, C-TAC is a nationally-respected organization dedicated to improved care of patients with advanced illness that will help expand the Respecting Choices® model.

"Our program has exceeded expectations, thanks to the incredible support of Gundersen and the Gundersen Medical Foundation, but it became clear that for Respecting Choices® to continue to grow and to be sustained, it needed a new home.   We are thrilled to be part of C-TAC and expand our reach," says Bud Hammes, PhD, Respecting Choices® executive director. "Most Americans will face advanced illness at some point—their own or a loved one’s. Yet, our systems today tend not to support coordinated, person-centered care and conversations like these. We are changing that."

"We’re taking a major step forward in the movement to do better by America’s seriously ill," says Bill Novelli, board chair, C-TAC. "This will strengthen the healthcare system and help patients and families receive care that matches their preferences and values."

Patients, partners, staff and public will see little difference in Respecting Choices® services under this partnership.

Respecting Choices® and C-TAC will promote services and engage partners and stakeholders in this assessment model, with the help of content experts, to improve care for all patients. An additional goal of this partnership is integrating planning and decision-making into training for health professionals.

"Our evidence-based model enhances the patient and family experience, and the quality of medical care at Gundersen and at organizations where the model is used," says Sigurd Gundersen III, MD, Gundersen Health System and chairman of the board, Gundersen Medical Foundation. "We have found the right partner in C-TAC to accelerate the distribution of this patient-centered service."

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