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Wednesday, Dec 18, 2019

2019 Partner Spotlight
It's been an amazing year of growth, innovation, and collaboration. I am immensely grateful to all the Honoring Choices MA (HCM) Partners and the thousands of care providers, community professionals and consumers working together to advance our shared mission. To celebrate our 2019 accomplishments, I'd like to share just some of the inspiring ways the HCP Partners are using our programs and tools.Thank you all! -Ellen DiPaola, President

650 Ambassadors Help Adults Take Charge

We welcome the North Shore Ambassadors (pictured here) into the 650 strong Health Care Planning Ambassador network.

"We are passionate about bringing together care providers to collaborate and coordinate to improve care in our communities,” says Deirdre Berger, Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care. As a HCM Regional Champion, Deirdre co-hosted both our South Shore and North Shore region's Health Care Planning Ambassador Workshops. ”Working in serious illness, we see the effects on adults and families when important conversations do not happen. Ambassadors help empower adults to take charge of their decision making and make a plan with family and care providers." Thanks to Deirdre and Rob Osgood, Executive Director.

Getting Started Tool Kits For All!

As a long-time Ambassador, Patty Thibeault, Notre Dame Health Care, Worcester has been enthusiastically leading “What’s in Your Plan?” workshops and giving out the Getting Started Tool Kit  to adults in Worcester/ Central MA. “Folks love it!” says Patti. “As we review the tool kit, adults share their stories and ‘ah-ha’ moments to better understand their care choices, and leave feeling empowered to talk with their family and doctors." Thanks Patti and Notre Dame for empowering your community.

65,500 Conversations and Counting!

Thank you to all the HCM Partners and Health Care Planning Ambassadors who to date have engaged adults in over 65,500 care planning conversations to make a personal plan and connect to quality care. We are in awe of your highly collaborative spirit and inventive programs to reach every adult, in every community of the Commonwealth.

Building Healthier Communities

Lauren Pratt who coordinates Age- and Dementia Friendly Framingham (ADFF), and the ADFF Coalition Members had a great idea. They asked HCM to make a bilingual “I Have A Health Care Proxy” wallet card for their Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese speaking residents, to name an Agent on the backside of the card who could be contacted in case of emergency. The ADFF Ambassadors now can provide culturally sensitive conversations with a packet of translated documents to help Framingham residents make a plan and receive equitable care in their community. Bi-lingual wallet cards are available to all Partners.

Culturally Sensitive Health Care Planning

Grace O’Donnell, Callahan Senior Center, Framingham Councils on Aging and her colleagues hosted multiple health care planning events for Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin speaking adults, to better understand cultural concerns and provide translated documents to help adults make a personal plan. “Everyone had a very positive impression”, said Grace, “and all agreed that it is very important to make sure family or friends and medical professionals are aware of your choices and preferences.”  Thanks to Grace and her amazing COA colleagues.

5 Care Management Teams at Work!

Harvard Pilgrim is the first health benefits plan to enhance the knowledge & skills of their five care management teams, educating nurses, social workers and care managers as Ambassadors. “The planning conversation starts as early as the first phone call with our members,” says Vicki Bailey, Senior Manager. “With additional HCM training, our staff now has the confidence along with the tools to educate their members and assist them in continuing the conversation with their physicians and loved ones.” Thanks to Vicki and Patricia L. Toro, MD, Associate Medical Director for their leadership to improve health outcomes.

Upgrading Guardianship

Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA),  a leading voice for MA hospitals, and Honoring Choices are co-hosting the Guardianship- MOLST Advisory Committee to improve the Guardianship process for adults with serious illness. The 25 member committee is addressing the complex systematic challenges that can result in substandard care and unnecessary harm and suffering for an incapacitated person. We are working on collaborative solutions to ensure every adult has equal access to timely treatment options from first diagnosis, through managing treatments, to end of life care. Thanks to Pat Noga, VP, Clinical Affairs and MHA for their inspiring commitment to this vital initiative.

Living Well with Serious Illness Care

Many thanks to the DPH MA MOLST Advisory Subcommittee diligently working to bring MA into compliance with the National POLST standard of care and greatly improve our MOLST process. We are truly grateful to be working alongside state agencies, health care organizations, community groups and the court to build an improved collaborative process that proactively responds to the changing health needs and care choices of adults with serious illness. See the Important Milestones to date.

Nursing Student and Ambassador

“The Ambassador Program and Getting Started Tool Kit is easy to use and very effective in starting patient conversations,” says Catherine Whitaker, Graduate Nursing- DNP Student, UMass Medical Center, Worcester.  “I highly recommend the Ambassador training be added to the curriculum- every nursing student should have it!”  Our thanks to Jennifer Reidy, MD, and Jean Boucher, PhD, RN, UMass Memorial Health Center, for their vision to educate both medical students and graduate nursing students as Health Care Planning Ambassadors.

What’s in Your Portal?

Baystate Health, Springfield is the first health care system serving over 800,000 people throughout western New England, to include both the HCM Health Care Proxy and Personal Directive (Living Will) in their Patient Portal. “Making the planning documents accessible 24/7 to view, complete, and update,” says Samantha Kennedy, Director of Strategy  “is part of our commitment to ensuring that every patient receives care that aligns with their goals and preferences.”  Special thanks to Jodi Kashouh who coordinates and supports the 400 member Transitions in Care Cross Continuum as Ambassadors.

More Effective Physician-Patient Conversations, Better Care

Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is taking the lead to improve early and effective physician-patient care planning conversations for a shared understanding of a patient’s values and care goals to deliver better patient centered care. MMS provides the HCM planning information and tools for both physicians & patients on their website; co-sponsored the very popular Palliative Care webinars; and is lending their expertise to the Serious Illness Care and MOLST Challenge. Thanks to Candace Savage and all MMS colleagues to advance our shared mission.

Improve Health Literacy to Manage Chronic Illness

“We found having an entire packet of translated planning tools for our Russian speaking population, which includes the Health Care Proxy, Personal Directive and Chronic Illness discussion guide,” says Holly Jarrell-Marcinelli, Greater Lynn Senior Services, “can improve health literacy and help adults know how to talk with their doctors to understand and manage their chronic illness.” Thanks to Holly and Ambiorix Montano for educating their staff as Ambassadors and translating tools.

Equal Access to Palliative Care

“Our vision is to empower all individuals living with serious illness," says Lisa Leydon, Northeast Metrowest Palliative Care Coalition, "to access culturally and linguistically appropriate information in order to ask for and receive Palliative Care at any age, and any stage of serious illness.” Lisa and this dynamic group of care providers have successfully collaborated on the widely used HCM Palliative Care fact sheets, discussion guides and webinars. Their 2020 Palliative Care Inclusion and Equality Initiative is underway.

Flexing Our New England Muscle 

HCM New England Healthy Living Collective,  our 6-state collaboration of health care and age-dementia friendly leaders, is making a collective impact by providing easy access to free state specific planning documents and age and dementia friendly resources. Our next step is to ensure the 6 state’s Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney for HC documents, which appoint your Agent or surrogate, are consistently honored no matter where you live or travel in New England. Special thanks to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation for a generous grant to help us translate multi-state documents.

7th Annual Health Care Decisions Month

Our 7th Annual All Partner Celebration kicks off in February 2020.  Look for free tools, event ideas and flyers to design your Health Care Decisions Month activities for this Spring. As we do each year, we’ll have a dedicated web page with downloadble tools and our statewide “Calendar of Events” to post and promote your activities. Last year the HCM Partners held over 60 fun and informative gatherings to help adults make a personal health care plan. More information shortly.
Thank you to Tufts Health Plan Foundation for their generous support of the Honoring Choices Ambassadors and programs. 
Thank you all!  Wishing you a joyous and restful season.
Honoring Choices Massachusetts is a consumer focused, non-profit organization that informs, empowers and helps adults and families to make a health care plan and connect to person-directed care all through their lives. Visit us at www.honoringchoicesmass.com

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