Today, April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day - something to celebrate and understand! This day is purposely scheduled after Tax Day as  Ben Franklin reminded us:  "Nothing in life is certain but death and taxes."  

On this National Healthcare Decisions Day, we urge you to take action.  Here are some suggestions from the National Healthcare Decisions Day organization:
  1. Have a conversation.  There are many great tools and platforms that help you have a thoughtful and informed discussion about these issues.  Our NHDD partner The Conversation Project is a great place to start, but also see the various other offerings on the NHDD website.
  2. Document your wishes.  Having a conversation is great and having proof of that conversation is even better.  Whether you create a piece of paper (such as with Caring Conversations, Five Wishes or a form from a lawyer or public health website), use an online digital tool or even create an audio message or a video file ( calls their platform the "Most Unselfish Selfie"TM), it is vital that there be proof of the authentic expression of your wishes and goals of care-any kind of care.  And to be sure: the language doesn't have to be medical or legal.  What matters most is stating what you value most.
  3. Real-time access.  What good is a document (or video file) if it is locked away somewhere and you're in a health crisis?  Please avoid the situation I was in.  Whether you "push" your document to providers or they "pull" it, it's critical that health information systems talk to each other as seamlessly as competing banks are linked seamlessly at any ATM.  This is doable, but it needs support-urge your state to take action.  And, congratulations to Maryland state health officials for embracing innovation and industry best practices and not trying to re-invent the wheel at taxpayer expense.  By recognizing one platform for both the content and the transport into the electronic health record, Maryland is giving its citizens confidence they can indeed have a voice in their care for free.  Other states should consider the same.  In the meantime, every healthcare facility should ensure that it can store and access advance directives from one visit to the next.  If not, steps 1 and 2 above are for naught.
  4. Integration.  Advance care plans are useless if they're not integrated into the delivery of care.  This means inquiring about patient wishes early and often in the delivery of care.

One more suggestion, Beth Droppert, RN, BSN and I have been trained to give presentations on this important topic through Honoring Choices .  It is a great presentation to learn the basics on Advance Care Planning.  Contact us at   to schedule it for your organization!

Here's to your good health,


Robin Shapiro
WASHAA Board Chair
Upcoming Events
WASHAA Member Trudy James will be celebrating the 4th Anniversary of her film, Speaking of Dying. 

When:  April 27, 2019 | 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Where:  Northwest Film Forum | 1515 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

To follow Trudy's work, check out her Facebook page:

The event will show us how compassion fits into every aspect of care and includes breakout sessions covering topics of empathetic engagement with patients, compassionate care for caregivers, innovations in improving diagnoses, a special track on communication & resolution implementation following adverse events, and more, with each talk introduced by a first-hand patient story.  Patients can attend for just $45.

Join experienced advocates working in the Northwest who are interested in sharing success and challenges in working in the field for networking, light hors d'oeuvres and beverages. Ever thought it might be nice to partner with another advocate to cover client load or be a back up to cover for you when you travel? Are you considering a job in health or patient advocacy and want to learn more about what the field is all about? Join advocates and other professionals who support advocates and patients for a peer-to-peer sharing event. Bring questions, challenges and success. BRING YOUR TICKET!! 

The next quarterly Networking Meeting will be: 
  • Sept 25
  • Dec 3

Baby Boomer Bootcamp - Beth Droppert will be Presenting June 9th
The Issaquah Senior Center is hosting a quarterly Baby Boomer Bootcamp, sponsored by ERA Living and the King County Library System (KCLS) on June 9.  WASHAA Vice Chair Beth Droppert, RN, BSN will be presenting the ABCs of an Effective Doctor Visit.  To register , call the Issaquah Senior Center front desk: 425-392-2381 as space is limited!

These are the speaker and topics for June 9th
1:15pm - 1:45pm
Keynote speaker: Dori Gillam: Developing Resilience: Do you have it? Can you get it? 
2:00pm - 2:45pm
Karen Nelson: Medicare 101 Beth Droppert: The ABCs of an Effective Doctor Visit
3:00pm - 3:45pm Katie Peterson: Wills, Trusts and Other Methods for Your Estate Plan Mary Lynn Hafner: Keeping Physically Fit in Retirement 
4:00pm - 4:45pm Closing Keynote: Dr. Carolyn Parsey: Memory Loss and Aging: What is Normal and What is Not

WASHAA Calendar
May 16 - Networking Meeting
June 9 - Boomer Bootcamp - ABCs of an Effective Doctor Visit
June 12 - The ABCs of an Effective Doctor Visit (FREE! Greenwood Senior Center)
Sept 12 - Taming the Medicine Cabinet (FREE! Greenwood Senior Center)
Sept 25 - Networking Meeting
Oct 17 - WASHAA Annual Meeting [Topic: Understanding Pain & Healing]
Dec 3 - Networking Meeting
WASHAA Members News
WASHAA Board Member John Fox launched his book, Medicare Made Simple with a free download on April 9 and it became a Bestseller!

Although WASHAA speakers can give presentation on many topics, here are a few of our popular presentations: 
  • Advance Care Planning (Just added in partnership with Honoring Choices)
  • Taming Your Medicine Cabinet (New in 2019!)
  • The ABCS of a Successful Doctor Visit
  • Patient Know More...Patient No More!
  • The Emerging Field of Health Advocacy 
  • Safe & Sound in the Hospital: A Short Course in Patient Safety 
  • Volunteer Health Advocate Training: Understanding the Role & Skills to Be Effective
To schedule a speaker for your community, please submit your request here:

Have a topic you wish we offered? Let us know - let's talk!
Do you have something you would like to share with the WASHAA community?

Please submit ideas to 

Washington State Health Advocacy Association
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