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 July 23, 2012  Posted by  Health

Counselor working with womanThe Bemidji Rural Palliative Care program works to help patients and families make end-of-life decisions. The project plans to use a POLST (Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) document to change how health care settings provide end-of-life care to patients and their families. The pilot project is a collaborative effort between the Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging and the Bemidji Palliative Care Initiative, representing Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and Clinic, Chaplaincy and social services, Sanford Hospice and Home Care, Goldpine Assisted Living, Bemidji State University Nursing program and greater Northwest EMS.

To date, eight health care professionals from multiple health care settings have received advanced care planning training. Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and EMS have adopted a Bemidji POLST document as a regular part of their processes for delivering end-of-life care to chronically ill older adults.

Goldpine Assisted Living and Havenick nursing home initiated the pilot with a chart review to identify residents who would be appropriate for advanced care planning. Participating residents will complete a needs assessment at both the start and at the conclusion of the process. In the next phase, initiative leaders will educate the community and expand the program to encompass the entire Bemidji Sanford planning and service area.