Washington End-of-Life Coalition

WEOLC logoThe WSMA created the Washington End-of-Life Coalition 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. Email Graham Short, gfs@wsma.org, to join.

The Washington End-of-Life Coalition 2015 Annual Meeting

Friday, Nov. 13
9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport

Dr. Ira Byock, leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life, is the featured presenter at this year’s Washington End-of-Life Coalition annual meeting, Friday, Nov. 13 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport. Dr. Byock will join coalition leaders and community representatives from across the state to present a full-day program addressing a culture on the brink of a revolution in the way we think and care for those at the end of life.

The meeting will also feature short presentations highlighting a selection of innovative and inspiring end-of-life and advance care planning efforts happening across the state. Also included will be updates on the Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest initiative as well as state and national efforts around the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).

Co-sponsored by the state medical (WSMA) and hospital (WSHA) associations, the Washington End-of-Life Coalition is made up of a broad-based cross-section of individuals and organizations across the state interested in bettering end-of-life care. The coalition’s annual meeting traditionally provides an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues who share an interest in palliative, geriatric, spiritual and other end-of-life issues.

Conference agenda


8:30 a.m.
9 a.m.
9:45 a.m.
Updates from around the state  
  • Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
  • Hospice
  • Honoring Choices® Pacific Northwest
  • National end-of-life updates
  • Death with Dignity in Washington
10:15 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
Be My Guest: Death over Dinner  Rita Mark, RN, BSN
11:00 a.m.
Respecting Choices Wenatchee   Makrina Shanbour, MD and Ginny Heinitz, RN, BSN, CHPN
11:30 a.m.
Faith Community Nursing as an Effective Liaison between the Community and Health Care  Gretchen Brauer-Rieke, RN, MSN
Living Well Through the End of Your Life – Collective Impact Advance Care Planning: Educating, Empowering and Inspiring a Region  Paula S. Beatty, RN, BSN, MPA
12:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.
Well-being Through the End of Life: Clinical & Cultural Leadership for the 21st Century  Ira Byock, MD
3:00 p.m.
Closing remarks/evaluations
3:30 p.m.

Keynote presentation Well-being Through the End of Life: Clinical & Cultural Leadership for the 21st Century

American health care focuses on diagnosing and treating medical conditions, but gives relatively little attention to the personal experience of seriously ill people and their families. Most people want to drift gently from life, optimally at home, surrounded by people they love. Epidemiological and health service studies paint an alarmingly different picture—a high proportion of people are dying in ICUs, hospitals and nursing facilities, and a relatively small percentage are dying at home.

A fundamental shift is needed in our caring approach to seriously ill people and their families. Illness and dying are fundamentally personal.

Dr. Byock’s presentation will explore the essential components of shared decision-making and quality clinical care in the context of serious illness. He will define a framework for evaluation, care planning and therapeutic intervention that addresses the lived experiences, values, preferences and priorities of patients and families affected by life-threatening medical conditions; one that can preserve opportunities for people to experience a sense of well-being concomitant with the stresses of illness, caregiving and dying, and one that is essential to providing the best person-centered care.

About Dr. Byock
Dr. Byock is one of the nation’s foremost experts in palliative care. His books “Dying Well,” “The Four Things that Matter Most” and “The Best Care Possible,” have become touchstones for the practice of hospice, palliative and end-of-life care. He is the executive director and chief medical officer for the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health and Services, a 35-hospital health system serving communities across five western states, including Washington. Dr. Byock advances efforts to measure, monitor and improve whole-person health care systemwide. He is a practicing physician and is based in Torrance, CA.

Short presentations

Be My Guest: Death over Dinner
Presented by Rita Mark, MN, RN
Death over Dinner is gaining popularity as an alternative method to engage people in conversations related to advance care planning and end-of-life decision making. This presentation will focus on the decisions and details that are necessary to create an environment that encourages open and honest discussions on an often avoided topic. Engaging patients in advance care planning and especially conversations related to their treatment preferences is one of the best methods to involve the patient in their own care decisions, and it has been shown to promote healthier outcomes and reduce health care spending.

About Rita
Rita Mark, MN, RN is RN liaison and patient experience coordinator at Swedish Edmonds. In addition to her role of working with staff to assure patients receive quality care, she also is a member of the hospital ethics committee and end-of-life subcommittee. Rita helps coordinate the Swedish Edmonds advance care planning workshops, which are unique to the Swedish Edmonds campus. She completed her MN degree at UW Bothell June 2015, with her final project focused on ethics and end-of-life planning.

Respecting Choices Wenatchee
Presented by Makrina Shanbour, MD and Ginny Heinitz, RN, BSN CHPN
Respecting Choices Wenatchee is a community-wide initiative to improve conversations about advance care planning and specifically POLST throughout our community. A grant from Cambia Foundation supported the training of facilitators at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, a home health agency, a nursing home, subacute rehab unit, community clinic and outpatient oncology and pulmonary clinics to talk to patients who have 12 months or less to live and their families about end-of-life wishes. The project involved extensive coordination with medical records departments to make it easier to find advance care documents in the EMR as well as community outreach presentations that were well-received. The initiative’s goal is to expand the initiative to primary care settings across the organization and community.

Respecting Choices Wenatchee has been working on developing an outpatient palliative care program with one RN who is working in pulmonary, neurology and oncology and managing a large panel of patients. The nurse helps coordinate care between physicians and home health-hospice, helps walk the patient and family through the possible course of disease and helps with advance care planning. The goal is to expand these outpatient palliative care services to other service lines, including internal medicine and cardiology.

About Dr. Shanbour
Makrina Shanbour, MD is board certified in internal medicine and is a hospitalist with Central Washington Hospital & Clinics in Wenatchee.

About Ginny
Ginny Heinitz, RN, BSN CHPN, provides outpatient palliative care at Confluence Health in Wenatchee. She served as a hospice nurse for 25 years. As Ginny saw the length of stay shorten for hospice patients, she became interested in educating the public about hospice and the “what ifs” of life before they reached the end of their life. She was influential in starting both the inpatient and outpatient palliative care programs at Confluence Health and has helped bring Respecting Choices to Wenatchee, serving as the first program coordinator. She incorporates her work with Respecting Choices and palliative care in a very popular community talk “Planning for the Future so You Can Live in the Now.” She has a passion for allowing the patient’s voice to be heard so that we can provide the right care at the right time, based on each individual’s story and values.

Faith Community Nursing as an Effective Liaison between the Community and Health Care
Presented by Gretchen Brauer-Rieke, RN, MSN
Faith community nurses (FCN, also known as parish nurses) are nurses embedded into the social fabric of faith communities usually volunteering their time and skills with members of that community. Given the extended time and personal attention provided by FCN with whom they have a relationship, congregants may feel more comfortable and open with FCN, receptive to education and support. How, then, can FCN help members of their faith communities prepare for the end of life? We will look at a new model of collaboration between a major health care delivery system and Faith Community Nursing/Health Ministries Northwest to provide training for FCN to bring end-of-life education into their faith communities, support congregants in making advance plans for end-of-life decisions, and examine the benefits and barriers to effective end-of-life work in our faith communities.

About Gretchen
Gretchen Brauer-Rieke, RN, MSN is a certified advance care planning facilitator and founder of CodaConversations (http://codaconversations.com/) who has presented extensively in Oregon and Washington on end-of-life planning. She is the author of In Advance: A Practical Guide to Making Your Own End-of-Life Healthcare Decisions. A former nurse-midwife, Gretchen is passionate about maintaining meaning and sacredness in the natural processes of both birth and death. She has been teaming up with Faith Community Nursing/Health Ministries Northwest to provide education and training for faith community nurses, equipping them for effective end-of-life work within their congregations.

What’s Your ACP? Collective Impact Advance Care Planning: Educating, Empowering and Transforming a Community
Presented by Paula Beatty, RN, BSN, MPA
In 2012, the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition formed as a countywide collaborative among business, health care, education, social service and faith organizations. Its shared community mission is to foster community vitality, competitiveness and prosperity through better health and health care value. Collective impact is the harnessing of cross-sector leadership and resources to achieve critical goals, and SHCLC is applying this strategy to advance care planning. The unique attributes of this approach can lead to long-term sustainability and broad replication. The coalition sponsors an ACP initiative that engages these sectors to educate, empower and inspire both citizens and medical staff to initiate conversations about advance care planning and end-of-life care, document these conversations, and honor these documents. The presentation will discuss and celebrate our process and results to date in addition to next steps.

About Paula
Paula Beatty, RN, BSN, MPA is the strategic program manager for the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition’s advance care planning initiative. She has spent a significant portion of her nursing career working in home health, hospice and palliative care. Paula is the former executive director for Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County where she led teams in the development of nationally recognized palliative care and bereavement programs. In addition to her leadership role with the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition, Paula provides nutrition, exercise and lifestyle education consulting.

Conference objectives
  • Identify the fundamental components of quality clinical care in the context of serious illness.
  • Define the elements that make up shared decision-making.  
  • Summarize the concepts and ideas which define dying as a critical time in the life of individuals and families.  
  • Identify a conceptual model and terminology of human development, applied to the evaluation, care planning and therapeutic intervention pertinent to psycho-social and spiritual suffering and resolution related to dying, and describe how this framework presents opportunities for well-being that can occur concomitant with incurable illness and dying.  
  • Give examples of the concept of “community” as a process on a macro geographic level and on a micro level.  

CME credit

The WSMA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The WSMA designates this live activity for a maximum of 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for up to 4 hours of Category I CME credit to satisfy the relicensure requirements of the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission.

Nurse practitioners and registered nurses: For the purpose of recertification, the American Nurses Credentialing Center accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ issued by organizations accredited by the ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education). Certified nurse midwife: The American College of Nurse Midwives has granted reciprocity status for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ issued by providers accredited by the ACCME and relevant to midwifery. 

CEU credit

This workshop has been approved for 3.75 CEUs by the Washington Chapter, National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for licensed social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists and licensed mental health counselors. Your provider number is #1975-391.

Exhibitor information

The fee for exhibitors is $200 and will include: one 6' skirted table (fabric draping), two chairs and company representative(s) name badges. To register as an exhibitor, download an application form and submit with payment. The exhibit fee includes meeting registration fee for one exhibit manager. If other company representatives aside from the exhibit manager would like to attend the meeting, they'll need to register separately and pay the general registration fee.

Booth assignments will be determined by the event organizers. Cancellations received on or after Oct. 31 will be charged a $25 service fee. The deadline for exhibitor applications is Monday, Nov. 9. Exhibitor space is limited, so apply today.

If you have any questions about exhibiting at the meeting, contact Graham Short at (800) 551-0612, or gfs@wsma.org.

Thank you to our sponsors

The Washington End-of-Life Coalition would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous contributions to the 2015 annual meeting.

Silver Sponsor:

Bronze Sponsors:

Gerri Haynes 


Sponsorships available

In order to keep our registration fees affordable for all, we are looking for some partners in offering the meeting this year. If you and/or your organization would like to help us make this meeting possible, contact Graham Short at (800) 551-0612, or gfs@wsma.org.

Sponsorship Acknowledgement
$250 Bronze Sponsor Name acknowledgement in meeting program, name acknowledged on the WEOLC website for six months and supporter of the Annual Meeting.
$500 Silver Sponsor Name acknowledgement in meeting program, logo on the WEOLC website for six months, acknowledged as sponsor for the Annual Meeting breakfast.
$1000 Gold Sponsor Logo acknowledgement in meeting program, logo on the WEOLC website for six months, acknowledged as sponsor for the Annual Meeting.

Registration information

Pre-registration is closed. Limited walk-in registration (until room reaches capacity) will be available at the meeting site starting at 8:30 a.m. Contact Graham at 
(206) 956-3633 or (800) 552-0612 or gfs@wsma.org with questions.

Date and Time
Friday, Nov. 13, 2015
: 8:30 a.m.
Adjourn: 3:30 p.m.

Event Location
DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport
18740 International Blvd
Seattle, WA 98188

General registration

General registration with CEU credit (for social workers)

General registration with CME credit (for MD/DO and nurse practitioners and registered nurses)
About registration:
Contact Abby at the WSMA front office at
(206) 441-9762 or
(800) 552-0612 or  abby@wsma.org

About the meeting:
Contact Graham at 
(206) 956-3633 or 
(800) 552-0612 or gfs@wsma.org

More news from the WEOLC

To receive Coalition information, contact Graham Short at gfs@wsma.org, or (206) 956-3633.

About us

The Washington End-of-Life Coalition was formed 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. The steering committee of the WEOLC meets quarterly to guide the Coalition's efforts.

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.


  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 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 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

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 Nurse Practitioner
Skagit Valley Hospital/Palliative Consult Service
: Individual
About: Sharmon has been a clinician in hospice and palliative care for over 20 years. She was instrumental in bringing palliative care to the hospitalist service at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, contracted through The Everett Clinic from 2007-14. 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 now works with the Palliative Consult Service at Skagit Valley Hospital, closer to her home in Bellingham, where 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.

Therese A Johnson


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.

Anne Koepsell, RN, BSN, MHA

(Immediate past chair)

Representing: Individual
About: Anne has over 35 years nursing experience and over 25 years experience in hospice and home health administration. She is the former executive director of the Wash. State Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. Prior to that, Anne was executive director of Hospice of Spokane for 10 years. She has served on the WSHPCO, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa Board of Directors.

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” (ie, 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.

Donna Oiland

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