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Stories & Snapshots

Why We Do What We Do: The Mission to Improve End-Of-Life Care Planning

Epic staff and community members partner to help patients and providers with difficult conversations

For Epic staff member Maggie Stack, building upon the tools available for end-of-life care planning is a personal mission. Her brother, Staff Sergeant Adam S. Thomas, was a Green Beret killed in the line of duty in 2016, and he didn’t have his wishes documented.

“My family has wished a number of times that we had something written in Adam’s own words about what he wanted if anything happened to him,” Maggie says. “A lot of the other members of the end-of-life care team, and the members of the Epic community I’ve worked with, have their own personal ‘why,’ too.”

Maggie leads a company-wide team that focuses on helping healthcare organizations address one of the major challenges facing healthcare today: end-of-life care planning. “Only 25-30% of Americans have advance directives,” Maggie says. “To help tackle this problem, we need to make it easy for clinicians and patients to talk about end-of-life care choices.”

The end-of-life care team is working with members of the Epic community to make it easy for clinicians to find and update information like Advance Directives and health care agents, and also to engage more directly with patients by encouraging them to communicate their goals and wishes directly in MyChart.

To learn more about how Epic community members are documenting patients’ wishes and goals, read the story about Gundersen Health System. Epic community members can follow the clinical program by Providence Health and Services.

“Why We Do What We Do” is a series of stories from Epic staff about how their work relates to their personal missions to help our community members serve their patients and transform healthcare delivery.

Photo: Maggie Stack with her brother Adam Thomas, who was killed in the line of duty before he documented his end-of-life wishes.