Best Practice: Agape Foundation Shows How To Implement Advance Care Planning In Clinics Across S.C.

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    Agape Foundation’s leadership prioritizes advance care planning through supportive policies and practices.  As many organizations across South Carolina integrate advance care planning into their clinical practice, My Life My Choices would like to highlight Agape Foundation as an emerging best practice in how to implement advance care planning in clinics all over the state.


    Kitty Weaver BSN, RN is a clinical trainer and educator with LTC University, SC House Calls and Agape Hospice
    Kitty Weaver, BSN, RN is a clinical trainer and educator with LTC University, SC House Calls and Agape Hospice.

    BY KITTY WEAVER

    If you are unable to speak for yourself, who would speak for you?

    This is a question that I have become very passionate about since I began working in the senior health care industry seven years ago with Agape Senior.  I now understand the importance of this question being answered long before we reach our senior years.

    How To Implement Advance Care Planning In Clinics

    Agape Foundation, the non-profit foundation of Agape Hospice, was selected to participate in the advance care planning initiative, My Life My Choices, a program of the South Carolina Coalition for the Care of the Seriously Ill funded by the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation.

    Being involved with initiatives such as National Healthcare Decisions Day and My Life My Choices, I have come to realize the value of being prepared in advance.  Making decisions about future healthcare allows individuals to be empowered regarding their own health care, but also provides guidance and freedom from guilt and anxiety if faced with these decisions for loved ones.

    As the clinical trainer to lead our team in educating clinicians in Beaufort County, it quickly became a mandate for all of the clinical staff of our organization to complete the training.  The Serious Illness Conversation Program training is now a requirement of all clinical staff for our affiliate companies across the state, to include onboarding of nurse practitioners and doctors of S.C. House Calls, as well as training all nurses, social workers, and chaplains of Agape Hospice.

    As a registered nurse, it has been an eye-opening experience to be involved in training health care professionals utilizing the Serious Illness Care Program created by Ariadne Labs.  The mission of this program is: To improve the lives of all people with serious illness by increasing meaningful conversations with their clinicians about their values and priorities.

    to Help us Thank S.C. Leaders for Making #ACP a priority.

    Agape’s Efforts Are Making A Difference

    As a result of our leadership prioritizing advance care planning, Agape has trained over 218 health care providers, including 85 clinicians throughout South Carolina.  The trained health care providers were equipped with the skills to provide 19,084 quality advance care planning conversations with patients since May 2018. This team has also educated over 1,000 people in the Beaufort area and beyond.

    Most clinicians are not trained or comfortable in having these vital conversations with their patients, especially those with serious illness.   It is important to educate not only clinicians, but also the community so that they are prepared and proactive in asking questions to their health care team.

    Dr. Ira Byock states, “I have an advance directive, not because I have a serious illness, but because I have a family.”

    Agape Foundation is one of five community outreach partners participating in the South Carolina Coalition for the Care of the Seriously Ill’s advance care planning initiative, My Life My Choices. If you are interested in learning more about the Serious Illness Conversation Program and the available training sessions in South Carolina, please contact us at [email protected].

    About My Life My Choices

    My Life My Choices is an initiative of the South Carolina Coalition for the Care of the Seriously Ill and is funded by the generous support of the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation.  My Life My Choices provides tools to help South Carolinians understand that making future health care decisions includes much more than deciding what care they would or would not want. It starts with thinking about preferences and clarifying values, talking about care preferences with loved ones and writing those preferences down in an advance directive that is share with their loved ones and health care providers.

    About South Carolina Coalition for the Care of the Seriously Ill

    Founded in 2010, South Carolina Coalition for the Care of the Seriously Ill (SC CSI) is a statewide coalition that brings key organizations, clinicians, and health care entities together to collaboratively  redesign care, improve quality of life, and protect the ethical rights of the seriously, chronically, or terminally ill in South Carolina. Its mission is to ensure all persons in SC with serious, chronic, or terminal illnesses will have an active voice in the care decision process. 

    The coalition is committed to improving the shared decision-making for this population by implementing strategies which help patients understand the typical trajectory of their condition and take an active role in their treatment, including decisions about their care. Charter members include  South Carolina Medical Association, South Carolina Hospital Association, South Carolina Nurses Association, The Carolinas Center for Hospice and End-of-Life Care, South Carolina Healthcare Ethics Network, South Carolina Society of Chaplains, Sharing Hope SC, and AARP South Carolina.

    About the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation

    The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.