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New Resource in Washington State to Ensure End-of-Life Care Wishes Are Honored

By Joanne Roberts, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Providence Regional Medical Center - Everett and Chair, Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest Workgroup

Wishes honored. Peace of mind. Family harmony. Quality care. These are the aspirations of a new program and website recently launched in Washington state called Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest ( The vision is to ensure everyone in Washington state receives care that honors personal values and goals at the end of life.

Led by the Washington State Hospital Association  and the Washington State Medical Association and supported by numerous other health care organizations across the state, Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest provides a comprehensive portal of resources and tools through a website to help Washington state residents understand their options for end-of-life care, create end-of-life care plans, and guide them through sharing those plans with loved ones and health care providers. The resources and tools on the website are free and available to anyone.

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Visitors to the Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest website can review their options when making their end-of-life care plans. Or get a better understanding of different terminology in the glossary. The website will also include personal stories to help people understand the importance of making end-of-life care plans, and an email tool to invite family and friends to join them in the important process of discussing and creating end-of-life care plans. Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest is also launching a multi-year, statewide initiative providing training and resources to hospitals and doctors so they are prepared to discuss and honor their patients’ wishes.

Why dedicate a whole program to end-of-life care? Research shows about 60 percent of people do not want to burden family with tough decisions, yet nearly as many have not discussed their end-of-life care wishes with their families. Understandably, it’s a tough conversation to have. But it’s better to have the conversation while you’re still able, than to put it off until you’re in a crisis. Need more encouragement?

  • Think of it as a gift to the ones you love.
  • Think of it as a gift to yourself.
  • If you talk to your family now about the care you want if you become seriously ill, your loved ones will experience less stress if they need to make health care decisions for you later.
  • You’ve probably taken care of many of important decisions in your life now check off your end-of-life care plan. Watch this video for inspiration.
  • It’s equally important to inform your doctors and health care team so your choices can be honored and respected.
  • Have the conversation today, so you can rest assured your wishes will be known tomorrow.


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