The Respecting Choices Model

Implemented in 1991 by the Gundersen Lutheran Health System in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Respecting Choices® is an advance care planning best-practice model that aims to engage patients and families in informed conversations about end-of-life decision-making. The program guides communities and healthcare providers in creating standardized materials to provide patients across all health settings; training non-physician facilitators to guide patients and families in advance care planning; and implements common policies and designing practices for collecting, maintaining, retrieving and utilizing advance care planning documents across settings.

Why the Respecting Choices Model Works

Respecting Choices® works because its approach is staged based on a person’s state of health. The approach recognizes that an advance care planning program is an ongoing process of communication, integrated into the routine of patient-centered care. Other programs that emphasize completing a living will or advance directive are only scratching the surface. In fact, the standard approach of document completion has failed. Respecting Choices® understands the big picture and knows what it takes to create comprehensive, effective advance care planning programs that result in honoring informed healthcare decisions.