Advance Care Planning: My Life, My Choices
Respecting Health Care Wishes
The SC My Life, My Choices program is equipping South Carolinians to make informed decisions about their health care wishes by assisting communities and residents to help think about, talk about, and write down one’s wishes and choices for future health care. This also includes a statewide electronic registry to ensure that once these wishes are written down, they can be accessed and honored by health care teams throughout the state.
About the Organization
The Advance Care Planning committee is part of the SC Coalition for Serious Illness. The Carolinas Center, a leading voice for quality end-of-life care and planning in the Carolinas, serves as fiscal agent this work and represents a number of hospice and palliative care providers in North and South Carolina.
About the Grant
Through a grant from the Foundation, the SC My Life, My Choices initiative was established with the goal to help all South Carolinians make informed decisions about their health care wishes. The program promotes advance care planning (ACP) through three simple steps:
- Think about it. Think about your values, beliefs and goals and how they relate to your health care.
- Talk about it. Talk with loved ones before a medical crisis happens, so everyone has a shared understanding of your wishes.
- Write it down. Decide who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself and share this document with your loved ones and doctors.
An interactive website that contains numerous resources to help support individuals as well as health care providers is available. These online resources include materials that help individuals have meaningful conversations about future health care wishes and instructions on how to document those wishes in an advance directive that can be shared with health care providers via the electronic registry.
Why it was Funded
In spring 2016, multiple letters of intent were submitted to the Foundation related to advance care planning and end of life wishes. Seeing the importance of this issue, the Foundation convened the interested stakeholders to see how they could work together to achieve their shared goal. Together, these organizations developed a strategic plan to promote advance care planning. Out of this strategic plan came the My Life, My Choices program and plans for the statewide electronic registry for ACP documentation.
Eighty percent of people say that if they were seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about their wishes for treatment toward the end of their life. However, only 7 percent report having had this conversation with their doctor.
With the release of My Life, My Choices, nearly 8,000 community members have been educated on advance care planning and more than 600 providers trained. More than 1,100 ACP conversations have been conducted in health care facilities and these conversations have resulted in 307 advance directives being completed, more than doubling the goal of 125.
The Advance Care committee is currently pursuing future funding from multiple sources to continue the dissemination of My Life, My Choices and sustain the statewide electronic registry to ensure that families and health care teams can access and honor ACP documentation.