National Healthcare Decisions Month: A Recap

by | May 7, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Many thanks to those of you who were able to join us this April for our month-long celebration of National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16. As we know that there are still many questions about the new Honoring Choices as it revives and once again becomes a state-wide organization, this year we focused on both the advance care planning basics and sharing information about what Honoring Choices is up to at both the state and national level.

We started off with working with the office of Governor Tim Walz, who issued a proclamation declaring April 16, 2024 as Healthcare Decisions Day in Minnesota! We thank you, Governor Walz, for your support of advance care planning efforts in our state, and for joining us in our vision of a world where all people’s healthcare wishes are known and honored.

Our main events were a Lunch & Learn series where we explored a variety of familiar and new topics. We started with an introduction of our new Executive Director, Heather Thonvold, who shared about their visions for Honoring Choices into the future. This includes a much-anticipated rollout, soon to come, of the new Honoring Choices long form health care directive, revised for the first time since 2014. Other organizational goals include building a stronger presence across the state and increasing access to advance care planning resources for Minnesotans of all identities and needs.

Next up, Lynn MacKenzie, our Community Engagement Specialist, presented a play she wrote and produced to help inspire creative and open conversations around advance care planning: An Almost Murder Mystery. As one participant noted, “through the theatrical portrayal of informing the public about the need to complete advance directives, I learned to think outside the box about the many other ways to discuss the topic with patients and families.” Let us know if you’d like to bring An Almost Murder Mystery to your community!

Lynn also presented an ACP 101 presentation – a great introduction to advance care planning, health care directives, choosing a health care agent, having the conversation, and more. This presentation is available to be tailored to your organization – reach out if you’re in need of one of our speakers to bring this valuable information to your community or workplace.

Lastly, we brought in two of our National Network member organizations to speak about the kind of ACP work they are doing in their home states and the value of this national partnership group, which provides member organizations the ability to connect on national/universal issues and bring the knowledge back to respond appropriately to state specific needs. Eleanor Jones of Honoring Choices Virginia shared about their innovative work in creating and supporting intersectional mental health advance care planning resources from the grassroots to the systems and state level. Ellen DiPaola of Honoring Choices Massachusetts shared about the tools they have developed to promote and support individuals and care providers in continuous and effective advance care planning throughout the lifespan. Both Eleanor and Ellen welcome connections from those interested in learning more about their work, adapting their tools, and collaborating. Please reach out – and if you are from a state that is not yet part of the network, be in touch! We want to work with you.

We are grateful for your participation this month – and for all you do to promote advance care planning in your world. Lunch & Learn presenter Eleanor Jones may have put it best when she said, “There’s a huge gap between what folks can do and what they understand they can do, which is why we all exist as Honoring Choices in our states: to close these gaps.” Honoring Choices is dedicated to helping you understand how you can become an active participant in your own health care, throughout your life – and know what resources are available for you to do that well.

If this information impacted you this month, or you have ever found use of Honoring Choices’ tools, documents, or presentations – please consider making a donation so that we can continue doing this important work. You can also support us by joining us on Saturday, May 19 from 12-5 at Fat Pants Brewing in Edina, MN, where $1 from every pint sold will go to support Honoring Choices. See you there!