A Note to Our Members from PCW Director and Program Coordinator Dear Partners for Community Wellness, Advance Care Planning has been on our radar fo


A Note to Our Members from PCW Director and Program Coordinator

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Dear Partners for Community Wellness,

Advance Care Planning has been on our radar for quite some time now. Drs. Sandy Burstein and Dotty Bazos spoke at our November '13 meeting about Dartmouth-Hitchcock's work in Advance Care Planning through the Respecting Choices model based out of La Crosse, WI. Prof. Ellen Goodman presented on The Conversation Project at our May 2014 Meeting.

We profiled PCW Members Bill Helm and Ruth Bleyler in our October '14 e-newsletter for their work in the Honoring Care Decisions pilot. You can revisit that issue here.

Now, PCW will be using the experience and knowledge of Bill and Ruth, as well as the talents and efforts of six other PCW members and staff, to move Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Advance Care Planning conversations out in to our own communities. Through this process, we will learn about the most effective way to invite people to participate in this important conversation.

You can read more about how and where we plan to roll out our pilot, below.

We are excited to engage the broader PCW membership in this work, and we will be reaching out to you soon with opportunities to get involved. Ultimately, we hope to understand and refine the best way to make Advance Care Planning an accessible, comfortable, and expected process for everyone in our communities.

We will continue to send you project updates in the PCW monthly e-newsletter, but you can also visit our website anytime to learn more. If you have ideas or questions for our planning team, please feel free to contact our Project Lead, Nicole LaBombard. We would love to hear from you.


Karen Borgstrom
PCW Director

Nicole LaBombard
PCW Program Coordinator

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Q & A

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What is Honoring Care Decisions (HCD)? HCD is a program with the mission to promote and improve advance care planning. Partners for Community Wellness have formed a pilot team to put this mission into action in our own communities.

What is Advance Care Planning? Advance care planning (ACP) is a process, not an event. ACP is the process of understanding, reflecting and discussing a person’s goals, beliefs and values to make choices about health care in the future, including end-of-life care.

Despite recent gains in public awareness of the need for advance care planning, studies indicate that in 2015 only 37% of NH residents have an advance directive.

What is the history of Honoring Care Decisions? In 2013, Dartmouth-Hitchcock launched the comprehensive Honoring Care Decisions program to promote advance care planning across its clinical practices and communities. Honoring Care Decisions is modeled after the Gundersen Health System’s Respecting Choices Program®. Honoring Care Decisions was developed to convene and coordinate pilot teams across New Hampshire and Vermont to develop structured processes, measures, technical support infrastructure, and educational and communication platforms to sustain a robust program of advance care planning over the long-term.

What is an Honoring Care Decisions Pilot Team? Pilot teams are the implementation arm of the HCD Program. Pilot teams operationalize four essential elements of advance care planning: (a) systems design, (b) advance care planning facilitation skills, education, and training, (c) community education and engagement and (d) quality improvement.

PCW will be inviting its members, as well as the broader community, to participate in facilitated, Advance Care Planning conversations.

About our Pilot:


Nicole LaBombard, PCW Program Coordinator - Project Leader
Bill Helm, PCW Executive Committee Member - Project Champion & Facilitator
Jim Putnam, PCW Executive Committee Member - Project Champion
Ruth Bleyer, PCW Member - Community Champion & Facilitator
Karen Borgstrom, PCW Director - Project Champion & Facilitator
Jane Masters, PCW Member - Facilitator
Ellen Thompson, Lyme Parish Nurse - Facilitator
Lynn Smith, Lyme Parish Nurse - Facilitator
Janice Cundey, New London Parish Nurse - Community Champion

...and all of you!
We need your help and participation to make our pilot a success.


For the first six months of the pilot (July 1st - December 31st), we will be focusing our efforts in the Upper Valley and in the Lake Sunapee Region, where our trained facilitators are located.

As we continue to train more facilitators in different locations, we will be able scale up our work and bring the conversation to more NH and VT towns.


We will refine our workflow as we go along, but our goal is to invite individuals to have a conversation with a trained facilitator, help them fill out their Advance Directive, and ensure it is stored safely in their medical record (whether they are patients of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, or another health care system).

We will invite PCW members to sign-up for conversations through emails like this one, social media, direct mailing, and more.... starting now!

We have an easy sign-up form on our website. Once received, a facilitator will be in touch with you to schedule a time to begin your conversation.

We are lucky to be working with Parish Nurses in both Lyme and New London. For these towns, the Parish Nurses will have conversations with their community members, and PCW will support them in their outreach, execution, and secure storage of the document in Medical Records.

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HOW can I sign up?

Email Nicole LaBombard at nicole.e.labombard@hitchcock.org if you have questions or would like to help the planning team

or, better yet,

sign up for a conversation!

Honoring Care Decisions in the News

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Moving Health into Our Communities

About a year and a half ago, Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) transformed the role of its Assembly of Overseers, an advisory group for D-H leadership formed in the 1980s, into Partners for Community Wellness (PCW).

“The idea was to expand on the energy and talents of the original group, to create a far more active and far-reaching organization,” explains Karen Borgstrom, director of PCW. “Our charge is to help fulfill D-H’s mission to promote the health and wellness of the communities we serve through communication and education, advocacy, action strategies and philanthropy.”

PCW spent last year developing the organizational structure needed to do that, which included creating by-laws, sub-committees and chapter locations that are connected to the geographic locations where D-H provides services. “This year, we’re beginning to implement the projects that our PCW Executive Committee has determined are both aligned with D-H’s priorities and with those of communities, such as healthy aging and regional connectivity and communication” says Borgstrom.

An important priority of PCW's healthy aging work to support the Honoring Care Decisions initiative, which is aimed at improving and supporting advance care planning across the D-H system.

Continue reading this article here

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Honoring Decisions for End of Life Care

"Nothing is certain but death and taxes."

We’ve all heard this old saying, made famous by Benjamin Franklin, "Nothing is certain but death and taxes." To capitalize on good timing, National Healthcare Decisions Day is held each year on April 16 (the day after the tax deadline) to remind Americans about the importance of answering a fundamental question: “Who will speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself?” While most people don’t like the idea of talking about the end of their lives with their families or loved ones, it is an important conversation to have. Here are some questions you should discuss:

“What would you want should a sudden accident or injury leave you with the inability to speak for yourself?”

Continue reading this article here

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