Light The Legacy is a community-based organization dedicated to working collaboratively to improve end-of-life care for the people of Central Minnesota. We are positively impacting the quality of health care in our community by implementing comprehensive programs to facilitate patient- and family-centered end-of-life care, promoting informed decision-making, and encouraging conversations related to health care directives, hospice care, and palliative care.
Light the Legacy emerged in November 2009 as a community group of physicians, nurses, chaplains, administrators, and volunteers who came together with the common goal of improving end-of-life care in Central Minnesota. The multidisciplinary group included representatives from Heartland Hospice, St. Cloud Hospital Hospice/Home Care, V.A. Medical Center, St. Cloud Hospital Palliative Care Program, St. Cloud Hospital Pediatric Palliative Care Program, Coborn Cancer Center, Geriatric Services of Minnesota, Quiet Oaks Hospice House, and area nursing homes.
In January 2010, it was determined that a community project centering on advance care planning would have a significant and measurable impact on the level of care provided to patients in Central Minnesota. After attending a presentation by Dr. Ken Kephardt regarding the experience of the Fairview system with Honoring Choices, a Twin Cities advance care planning initiative, the local group decided this was how Light The Legacy was meant to proceed in its mission. Honoring Choices utilizes a staged approach to advance care planning as developed by Respecting Choices in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. Partnering with and modeling itself after Honoring Choices, Light The Legacy began bringing this powerful movement to the St. Cloud area. Members of the original group and additional volunteers soon formed the Advance Directives Initiative Steering Committee in order to implement the project.
Light the Legacy’s current goal is to promote the utilization of health care directives by adults of all ages in Central Minnesota. In February 2011, our organization was awarded a grant from CentraCare Health Foundation that allowed us to begin implementation of a three-phased project. The first phase, involving planning and preparation, was executed successfully. This brought us to Phase 2, a pilot program to test our methods and perfect our program. We are excited to report that our first pilot project is well under way at Health Partners Central Minnesota Clinics under the direction of Dr. Patrick Lalley. We are now looking expectantly toward the completion of Phase 3, expansion and permanent establishment of Light The Legacy’s Honoring Choices-based program in Central Minnesota.