Empowering personal choice at life’s end

An SIR Case Study | Back to OUR WORK

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SIR Client: Richmond Academy of Medicine

Challenge: Today’s healthcare industry is confronting the growing need to put medical preferences in writing. Individuals, families, providers, and policymakers increasingly wrestle with difficult end-of-life questions that often have serious emotional and financial consequences for families and healthcare systems at large. Working with such systems at Bon Secours Richmond, HCA Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University, the Richmond Academy of Medicine (RAM) sought to adapt a successful Wisconsin-based program for Richmond that would facilitate advance care planning conversations. The program would promote awareness, advocacy, and discussion about this sensitive issue on a large, system-changing scale.

Action: In late 2014, SIR conducted an extensive telephone survey to understand awareness and knowledge of advance care planning among Richmond’s general public — examining attitudes, perceptions, misperceptions, motivators, and barriers. This benchmarking study helped RAM determine the best communications strategy for spreading the message about this important topic. SIR then recommended outreach and program approaches that would encourage more people to work with their families, doctors, and lawyers to create an advance-care plan to match their medical preferences. 

Results: Using SIR insights, RAM launched its ambitious and wide-reaching advance-care planning initiative in 2015, branded as Honoring Choices Virginia. Through the program, RAM brings together key stakeholders — and the public — to coordinate and advance innovative clinical care improvements inspired by its outreach in communities across the region. Honoring Choices Virginia is now its third successful year, piloting projects in various clinical settings that adopt proven concepts, methodologies, training, and materials on advance-care planning.

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