Washington End-of-Life Coalition

WEOLC logoThe WSMA created the Washington End-of-Life Coalition (WEOLC) in June 1997 with an agreement among participating parties on a vision for end-of-life care and a set of goals to realize this vision. The Coalition works to ensure that it is responding to short-range needs in care for the dying while allowing its long-range work to evolve, as end-of-life care itself evolves. Membership to the Coalition is free.


“Between Heaven and Mirth”—Donna Oiland on the power of laughter at end-of-life coalition annual meeting, Nov. 7

The steering committee of the WEOLC would like to thank all of the passionate and committed supporters of better end-of-life care for their participation in this year's annual meeting. Mark your calendars for the 2015 annual meeting, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13 (location TBA).

The WEOLC would like to thank Silver-level sponsor the Washington State Hospital Association for their generous contribution to support the 2014 Annual Meeting. 

The WEOLC would also like to thank founding sponsor the Washington State Medical Association for their ongoing support of the Coalition’s efforts at bettering end-of-life care.  

More news from the WEOLC

To receive the Coalition's newsletter via email, contact Graham Short at gfs@wsma.org, or (206) 956-3633.


About us

The Washington End-of-Life Coalition (WEOLC) began its work in June 1997. While acknowledging that effecting change in our families, communities, and health care institutions will require long-term vision and effort, the Coalition believes that efforts both immediate and long range need to be brought to bear to significantly improve care for the dying. The Coalition will annually revisit its goals and its work toward them to ensure that it is responding to short-range needs in care for the dying while allowing its long-range work to evolve, as end-of-life care itself evolves.

Membership of the WEOLC is a broad-based cross-section of individuals and organizations across the state interested in bettering end of life care. Coalition members meet once a year at the WEOLC annual meeting, usually in the fall, where the course of action for the upcoming year is determined. The Steering Committee of the WEOLC meets quarterly to create an action plan for reaching the goals set forth by the Coalition.


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 the Washington End-of-Life Coalition, just contact Coalition staff member Graham Short at gfs@wsma.org, or (206) 956-3633 and ask to join. It's as simple as that.

There are no annual dues. Members will receive the WEOLC newsletter (via email or mail) and will be invited to participate in a yearly WEOLC annual meeting, typically in the fall.

Other opportunities to participate will be detailed in the newsletter.


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

Yakima Regional Medical & Cardiac Ctr.
Representing: YRM&CC
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.

Cheryl Ellsworth, MSW

Social Worker, Hospice Volunteer
Representing: Individual
About: Cheryl works with hospitals and faith communities to provide grief support and advanced care planning. At the University of Washington Medical Center, she volunteers with the palliative care team providing staff support; at Harborview Medical Center she serves as a per-diem spiritual care provider; at Swedish-Edmonds, she works with the advanced care planning consult service. Cheryl is co-creator and facilitator of Waking Fully to Living and Dying, a program to explore living with intention, while appreciating the mystery of death. Cheryl has been a volunteer with Providence Hospice since 2005. She is also a certified facilitator with Respecting Choices, a nationally recognized advanced care-planning model.

Sharmon Figenshaw RN, ARNP

Palliative Care/Hospitalist
The Everett Clinic/Providence Regional Medical Center
Representing
: Individual
About: Sharmon has been a clinician in hospice and palliative care for over 20 years. She initiated palliative care hospitalist service at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, contracted through The Everett Clinic. She received the Amazing Service Award in 2007 for service to excellence in patient care. The ARNP-driven palliative care service was named as one of three key elements in the National Circle of Life Award given to the Snohomish County Palliative Partnership in 2010. Sharmon has been part of the WEOLCC since 1999, serving as chair from 2008-2010. She currently co-chairs the Washington POLST Task Force.

Therese A Johnson

(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 twenty years. Coauthor and editor of When Professionals Weep: Emotional and Countertransference Reactions in End of Life Care by Katz and Johnson, 2006.

Robb Miller

Executive Director
Compassion & Choices of Washington
Representing: C& C of WA and WA Health Decisions Coalition
About: Robb has been the executive director of C&C of Wash. since 2000. He created a C&C advance directive that set a new standard for advance planning documents in Washington and in collaboration with Seattle University Clinical Law Professor Lisa Brodoff, Esq,, an Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Mental Health Advance Directive. Robb was one of the leaders of, and key spokespersons for, the I-1000 Coalition which passed the Washington Death with Dignity Act in 2008. In 2005, Robb received the Hugh Gallagher Award, a national social justice award given to the person who has most effectively advocated for the rights of people from diverse backgrounds.

Donna Oiland

Coordinator
Dept 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 healthcare 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 Evergreen Healthcare 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.

Bonnie Shultz, MSW, LICSW

Associate Clinical Professor/Clinical Instructor
University of Washington
School of Social Work
UW Professional and Continuing Education Program
Representing: Individual
About: Ms. Shultz has taught courses at the University of Washington since 2003. Her course, Caring for Persons with Life-Limiting Illness, is one of the highest rated practice courses at the school. In 2011, she was nominated for the UW Distinguished Teaching Award, in 2013 was awarded the MSW Student Choice Teaching Award. Ms Shultz assisted in establishing the pediatric palliative care consultation service at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and was the leader in bringing palliative care services to Evergreen Healthcare in Kirkland, WA. She has worked on grants such as Robert Wood Johnson Pediatric Palliative Care Demonstration grant, Aetna Foundation grants and is a recipient of George Soro’s, Project on Death in America Social Work Leadership Award.

Bruce C. Smith, MD

(Vice chair)
Executive Medical Director
Regence BlueShield
WSMA member
Representing: Individual
About: Dr. Smith is the executive medical director at Regence BlueShield. Dr. Smith previously served as the medical director for Group Health's hospice, palliative care and nursing home programs for five years. He is involved in medical organizations representing geriatrics, end-of-life care, medical ethics and health policy. He is vice-chair of the steering committee of the Washington End-of-Life Coalition, and serves as the Washington state representative to the National POLST Paradigm Task Force.

Deborah Swets

Vice President of Membership
Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA)
Representing: WSHA

Graham Short

(staff)