WWU’s Palliative Care Institute to Host Ramp-Up Event on March 16

Woodring College of Education’s Palliative Care Institute (PCI) at Western Washington University will sponsor a ramp-up event in collaboration with Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement and Northwest Washington Medical Society at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 in Settlemyer Hall at Bellingham Technical College.

The event is free and open to the public.

The ramp-up event is in support of the upcoming National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) and will encourage local employers to motivate their employees to prepare their own healthcare advance directives. Keynote speakers will be Nathan Kottkamp, founder and chair of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), and PeaceHealth’s Scott Foster, MD, a healthcare directive advocate.

A healthcare advance directive is a written statement of a person's wishes regarding medical treatment, made to ensure that the person’s wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate for his or her self. Without a directive conflicting family members or loved ones may disrupt care and treatment, or a court judge may appoint someone of his or her choosing.

The annual national event takes place on April 16, 2016, but participants in the local March 16 ramp-up can start preparing their directives immediately or can think through the instructions for their directive in time for the official NHDD a month later.

The PCI challenge to employers is get 30 percent of their employees to complete an advance directive during the 30 day Ramp-Up period.

NHDD exists as a 50-state annual initiative to provide clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare decision-making to both the public and providers/facilities through the widespread availability and dissemination of simple, and uniform tools (not just forms) to guide the process. NHDD is not prescriptive; it allows for and fosters individual choices.

A key goal of NHDD is to demystify healthcare decision-making and make the topic of advance care planning inescapable. On NHDD, no one in the U.S. should be able to open a paper, watch TV, view the Internet, see a physician or lawyer, or go to a healthcare facility without being confronted with the topic of advance care planning.