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April 9, 2021

New POLST, Advance Directive; New Name for End-of-Life Advocacy Group

The WSMA is pleased to announce major updates to advance care planning resources for patients, clinicians, and health care organizations. These newly updated resources - the advance directive, POLST, and the Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition (formerly the Washington End-of-Life Coalition) - continue to position the WSMA at the forefront of regional efforts to ensure clinicians and patients are empowered to give and receive care that reflects patients' goals, values, and preferences.

Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest's new advance directive

Honoring Choices® Pacific Northwest, the advance care planning initiative jointly sponsored by the WSMA and the Washington State Hospital Association, this week unveiled its new advance directive. This updated directive is a durable power of attorney for health care based on Washington state law (chapter 11.125 RCW), allowing individuals to name their health care agent. The new advance directive also helps individuals prepare their health care agent by sharing their goals, values, and preferences.

The WSMA has discontinued its advance directive brochure "Who Will Decide If You Can't," and now offers the Honoring Choices PNW advance directive in its place. Research shows that the best way to ensure an individual's wishes are followed is for them to name and prepare a health care agent. Download or order hard copies of the advance directive from the WSMA website.


Another important advance care planning document, POLST, has been newly revised - and rechristened. Formerly Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, the bright green form is now called Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, an inclusive rebranding to reflect the non-physician licensed professionals (PAs and ARNPs) authorized to complete and sign the form. The logo was also revised to align with the national POLST program, among other improvements made to the form.

The newly revised POLST is now available from the WSMA website, where you'll also find a summary of revisions and more information about POLST.

Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition

Initiated by the WSMA in 1997, the Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition, formerly known as the Washington End-of-Life Coalition, remains a steadfast advocate for improving serious illness care in Washington. Now under the fold of the WSMA Foundation, the coalition is the home of the Washington POLST Task Force, which oversees the POLST program. The coalition also serves in an advisory capacity as subject matter experts on all aspects of serious illness care. This year, the group reintroduced itself with a new name and a new vision, mission, and values statement. Learn more by visiting the coalition's webpage on the WSMA website, where you can sign up to receive regular communications from this extraordinary group.

With National Healthcare Decisions Day next week, make sure you and your care teams are up to date with all that the WSMA has to offer for your advance care planning and end-of-life care efforts. If you have questions, email Jessica Martinson at

Join or renew your membership today!