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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn how to become certified

Respecting Choices offers facilitator certification for First Steps® ACP, Next Steps ACP, and Last Steps® ACP, and instructor certification for First Steps® ACP and Last Steps® ACP.

Certification is available through organization implementation of the Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning (ACP) program or at Respecting Choices national courses.

To learn more about Respecting Choices certification programs, email

Facilitator Certification

Because ACP is not a "one size fits all" discussion, ACP facilitators must be trained to have discussions with patients at different stages of health and in different venues of care. ACP facilitators add value to an organization and community and are central to any program's success. The value of the facilitator role is demonstrated through

  • Timely and appropriate referrals for advance care planning services
  • The informed decisions patients and families are assisted in making
  • The overwhelmingly positive patient and family satisfaction with this service
  • Professional competence and confidence in providing skilled facilitation and delivering care that is consistent with a patient's goals, values and beliefs

First Steps ACP Facilitator Certification

This training is designed to help participants learn the skills needed to facilitate foundational ACP discussions with any adult.

Next Steps ACP "A Disease-specific Advance Care Planning Program" Facilitator Certification

This training is intended for qualified professionals to learn communication techniques to facilitate an in-depth, disease-specific ACP interview. This stage of ACP is focused on patients with chronic, progressive illness who are beginning to experience a decline in health and/or complications. They may also need assistance making more specific treatment decisions based on their unique illness and its corresponding trajectory.

Last Steps ACP "A POLST Paradigm Program" Facilitator Certification

This training is designed to help participants learn the skills needed to have end-of-life discussions with frail elders or those living in long-term care facilities.

Instructor Certification

Replicating the Respecting Choices approach to advance care planning requires on-going education of facilitators. Providing effective education depends on skilled instructors who have experienced the education themselves and have learned the skills necessary to guide others in learning a role. Respecting Choices faculty provide the skills training through instructor certification.

The value of the Instructor role is demonstrated through

  • Meeting organization needs for additional facilitators in a timely and cost-effective manner
  • Providing innovative teaching and learning processes for staff
  • Establishing a link to the Respecting Choices national faculty and resources

First Steps ACP Instructor Certification

The First Steps ACP Instructor Certification course features strategies for teaching and evaluating others' communication skills, and prepares participants to train First Steps ACP facilitators.

Last Steps ACP Instructor Certification

The Last Steps ACP Instructor Certification course features robust education principles and practices that prepare participants to teach others.


The term 'certification' as used in Respecting Choices® facilitator programs means that Gundersen Health System issues a certificate upon fulfillment of the following elements:

  1. Completion of a specified Respecting Choices educational program with standardized content and processes.
  2. Successful demonstration of skills associated with the specified program.
  3. If applicable, an 80% or higher score on a written examination associated with the specified program.

The Respecting Choices certification programs are not credentialed by a national accreditation body.

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