Honoring Choices® Virginia
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Honoring Choices Virginia is a major initiative to build system change, advocacy and education around advance care planning. Through Honoring Choices Virginia, the Richmond Academy of Medicine serves as convener, coordinator and catalyst to build clinical improvements combined with outreach in healthcare systems and communities across our region.

Bon Secours Richmond Health System, HCA Virginia Health System and Virginia Commonwealth University Health System are offering facilitated advance care planning conversations to individuals and patients under the guidance of the Respecting Choices® First Steps® program, a pioneering approach developed in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. These systems have agreed to embrace a common emphasis on improving the conversation across health systems; use patient-tested forms and informational materials; share lessons learned formally and informally; and support community outreach.

Honoring Choices Virginia is now planning a grassroots effort to reach residents of the Greater Richmond communities through media, multicultural organizations, senior centers, support networks and other avenues.

Click here to view the NPR video of the December 9, 2014, press kickoff!


Executive Overview 

Too often in our health care system, patients do not receive the care they wish for as they approach their last days. Starting a conversation about end-of-life care is difficult for all of us, whether we are physicians, patients, family members, religious and community leaders or health care providers. It is, however, imperative that these conversations happen. And once they occur, it is equally critical that patients’ choices are honored by those who care for them.

The Richmond Academy of Medicine has launched Honoring Choices® Virginia, a major project to build system change, advocacy and education around advance care planning. The Academy is serving as convener, coordinator and catalyst to build clinical pilot projects based on proven concepts, methodologies, training systems and materials, combined with outreach in communities across our region.

Coordinate Pilot Projects: The Academy is coordinating pilot projects to facilitate advance care planning discussions in health system hospitals, clinics and other health care settings. Sites select a targeted demographic and offer facilitated conversations to those patients who desire a new or updated advance care plan. The concepts, methodologies, training systems and materials are based on Respecting Choices®, a pioneering organization in advance care planning based in La Crosse. Respecting Choices® staff members are providing training and consultation for the first generation of pilots and facilitators.

Collaborate in the Health Care System: By agreeing to collaborate around a shared model, hospitals, physicians and communities will enjoy greater benefits and avoid duplicating work to improve advance care planning. As convener, the Academy will provide a platform for pilot projects and stakeholders to share lessons and information. The Academy will share program materials, templates for action, and institutional knowledge in person, through an annual conference and on its website.

Reach into the Community: As pilot sites are implemented and expand, the Academy will lead the public drive to promote advance care planning discussions among patients and their families, friends and communities. This effort will be a combination of community outreach, physician engagement and interaction with clergy and religious institutions as well as multicultural groups. The Academy hopes to build significant media projects with Richmond television, newspaper and radio as well.

Engage Physicians: A physician is the lead on the project, and physician ambassadors serve on the Honoring Choices Virginia board. These physicians will play a prominent role across the region in building pilot projects and advocating for advance care planning in the community. (See Honoring Choices Virginia Advisory Board)

Establish a Uniform Advance Directive (AD): Although legally acceptable ADs can take many forms, standardization will improve patient care and participant engagement. A standardized AD should be understandable across literacy levels.

© (2012), Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, Inc. Licensee may copy and modify copy document.
The name “Honoring Choices Virginia” is used under license from East Metro Medical Society Foundation. 2012/13-G


To create and sustain a dynamic and innovative physician community for the benefit of the Greater Richmond Area.

Contact Us

Richmond Academy of Medicine
Phone: (804) 643-6631
Email Us
2821 Emerywood Pkwy | Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23294


Endorsed Partners

MSVIA The Doctors Company (TDC)