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Washington End-of-Life Coalition

The Washington End-of-Life Coalition is a broad-based cross-section of individuals and organizations across the state interested in improving care at the end of life.

Formed in 1997, the WEOLC provides support for the state POLST program as well as outreach and networking opportunities through our annual membership meeting in the fall.

Vision and Mission Statement

Our vision

is a community where people are empowered to make knowledgeable choices regarding their end of life that are known, respected and honored.

Our mission

is to promote caring conversations about living and dying well within all communities across Washington state.

Our focus

is to provide outreach and networking opportunities through our annual membership meeting in the fall and to provide support for the state POLST paradigm program.

Values

  1. We foster conversation to build common ground, increase understanding and collaboration, reduce polarization, and increase open honest discussion where everyone's diverse perspective is honored.
  2. We value the development of rich relationships that support leadership and facilitate networking for professionals and lay people involved in/working with serious illness and end of life issues.
  3. We believe the end of life is a natural important life cycle event.
  4. We value helping patients and families live the best life they can until they die.
  5. We believe that patients, families and communities should be empowered to choose care based on their values and goals.
  6. We believe in building diverse coalitions that create consensus in ways that improve the end-of-life experience for every person in the state of Washington.
  7. We believe that everyone in the state of Washington should have access to excellent end-of-life care.
  8. We support access to hospice and palliative care for all citizens in the state of Washington.
  9. We celebrate the successful events that have gone before in end-of-life care.


Join the WEOLC

To join, contact Brendan Cox at brendan@wsma.org and ask to join. There are no annual dues. Members will receive the WEOLC information via email and will be invited to participate in the annual meeting, typically in the fall.

WEOLC Steering Committee

Char Barret

Founder, A Sacred Moment
Representing: A Sacred Moment
About: Char is a licensed funeral director, home funeral consultant, celebrant and founder of A Sacred Moment – Home Funeral Vigils, Green Burials & Life Celebrations funeral service. She specializes in assisting families with directing funerals in their own homes. Beyond her degree in mortuary science and formal training as a licensed funeral director, Char has been trained and is an experienced home funeral guide and celebrant. She has been a hospice volunteer since the early 90's and helped establish Camp Erin – King County, volunteering for Providence Hospice since the camp's inception in 2004.

Karin Brook, MSW

Astria Regional Medical 
Representing: Astria Regional Medical 
About: In her role as a hospital social worker, Karin assists patients, staff and physicians in dealing with end-of-life issues on a daily basis. Staff consult Karin with questions on the POLST form and hospice issues. She has assisted in bringing challenging questions and issues to the hospital ethics committee of which she is a member.

Sharmon Figenshaw RN, ARNP, ACHPN

Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner
SAGE Guidance: Senior/Family Care Consulting
Representing: Individual
About: Sharmon has been a clinician in hospice and palliative care for over 25 years. She worked in hospice care for 15 years, then got her Master’s in Nursing and has worked with hospital-based palliative care consult teams since 2007. Sharmon lives in Bellingham where she now does private consulting for families, engages in community conversations around end-of-life and aging, and works per diem with Whatcom Hospice and the Palliative Consult Service at Skagit Valley Hospital. She and her husband Peter enjoy skiing and boating. Sharmon has been part of the WEOLC since 1999, serving as chair from 2008-10. She currently co-chairs the Washington POLST Task Force.

Barb Hansen

Executive Director
Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization 
Representing: WSHPCO
About: Barb has worked in hospice and home health serving patients at the end of life since 1985. She has served patients and families in a number of roles: direct patient care as an RN case manager, clinical coordinator, program director, Joint Commission nurse surveyor, and as a wound, ostomy, continence nurse consultant for both home health and hospice patients. Barb has been in her role with WSHPCO since July of 2015. She also serves as the CEO for the Oregon Hospice and Palliative Care Association. Through that role, she serve on the Oregon POLST Task Force as well as the education subcommittee of that group.

Therese A Johnson

(Immediate Past Chair)
Representing: Individual
About: A psychotherapist in private practice on Mercer Island, Therese has worked in the field of end-of-life care, grief counseling and traumatic loss for 20 years. Coauthor and editor of When Professionals Weep: Emotional and Countertransference Reactions in End of Life Care by Katz and Johnson, 2006.

Wendy McGoodwin, MD

Attending physician
The Everett Clinic/Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
Representing: Individual
About: Dr. McGoodwin is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine and has worked on the inpatient palliative care service for the past eight years (the first six years at Harborview Medical Center and the most recent two years at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett). Dr. McGoodwin has a particular interest in helping patients understand the role of advance directives and encouraging their use and expanding efforts to train the “front line” (i.e., primary care providers, nurses, etc.) in the palliative care skill set. In her clinical faculty role at the University of Washington Dr. McGoodwin has made it a priority to train future health care professionals (from the fields of medicine, nursing, social work, etc.) how to work with patients at the end of life. In her former life, before she became a physician, she ran a bioethics agency. Most of her work was directed at legislative campaigns to prevent genetic discrimination. Dr. McGoodwin helped draft legislation and testified before state legislatures and Congress.

Sally McLaughlin

Executive Director
End of Life Washington 
Representing: EOL Washington
About: When Sally retired from independent school education in 2014, she decided to immerse herself in end-of-life services, an area of endeavor that had long been a passion. She persued training in hospice volunteer work with Providence in Seattle, Evergreen Hospice in Kirkland and the NODA program with Harborview Hospital. She also trained as a facilitator with Heartworks, an organization that educates groups on end-of-life choices and advance directive documents. When she became aware of the good work being done by then Compassion & Choices of Washington (now End of Life Washington), she trained to be one of their volunteer client advisers. She assumed the duties of the first ever community education director for End of Life Washington in February 2014, became the interim executive director in December 2015 and the executive director in March 2016. .

Donna Oiland

Coordinator
Department of Spiritual Care
Evergreen Healthcare
Representing: Individual
About: Donna worked in the field of organ and tissue donation as the director of the Lions Eye Bank, serving Washington, Northern Idaho and Alaska. Although committed to educating health care professionals and doing public education on the importance and benefits of donation, it was when her husband was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer her interest in improving end-of–life care became a passion. She has authored a book, "Legacy...Reflections Along the Way," that is being used to assist personal storytelling and promoting “dignity therapy” for hospice patients and their families. Donna presents educational workshops for Cancer Lifeline and EvergreenHealth and is a certified laugh leader with the World Laughter Tour. She is on the executive committee of the Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries and serves as a network coordinator for the Seattle/Eastside area.

Kathryn Schlenker, DO

Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Care
University of Washington Medical Center
Representing: Individual
About: Dr. Schlenker is a full-time palliative care physician with the inpatient palliative care consultation service at the University of Washington Medical Center. She provides direct patient care, providing symptom management, support and guidance with complex medical decision-making for patients and families facing end-of-life decisions. She also provides end-of-life education throughout the hospital as well as support/debriefs for difficult cases. She acts as an educator for medical students, residents and fellows rotating on the palliative care service. She has also given talks regionally and nationally about palliative care and end-of-life topics.

Bruce C. Smith, MD

(Chair)
Representing: Individual
About: Dr. Smith provided primary care and specialty geriatrics for 20 years, then served as executive medical director at Regence BlueShield and medical director for Group Health's hospice, palliative care and nursing home programs. He is active in a variety of regional and national organizations representing geriatrics, end-of-life care, medical ethics and health policy. He is the chair of the steering committee of the Washington End of Life Coalition, co-chair of the Washington POLST Task Force, and serves as the Washington state representative to the National POLST Task Force.

Deborah Swets

(Vice chair)
Representing: Individual

Hope Wechkin, MD

Medical Director
EvergreenHealth Hospice and Palliative Care 
Representing: EvergreenHealth
About: A family physician by training, Dr. Wechkin has served as the medical director of EvergreenHealth’s Hospice and Palliative Care programs since 2007. Having served as a physician consultant on the University of Washington Medical Center’s Palliative Care service and co-directed (with Stu Farber) the Palliative Care track of the Chronic Care clerkship at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Wechkin now serves as a guest lecturer in end-of-life care in the annual summer seminar in medical ethics that is held at the University of Washington School of Medicine. In her role as physician co-chair of EvergreenHealth’s Ethics Committee, Dr. Wechkin led EvergreenHealth’s successful efforts to retain the services of a professional ethicist and to form a joint ethics committee with Virginia Mason Medical Center. She has been an active member of Washington State’s Honoring Choices work group, and has worked with ACP (Angelo Volandes et al.) to increase access for EvergreenHealth patients and families to education regarding decisions at the end of life through video discussions.

Brendan Cox

WSMA Administrative Coordinator
(staff)

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