Northwest Life Passages Coalition

In 2014 the Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement convened a Task Force composed of experts and community leaders who were asked what it would take to transform Whatcom County into a center of end-of-life excellence. Focusing on advance care planning, palliative care, clinician training, financial sustainability, and community culture, the Task Force drafted a Blueprint to kick-start the vision; moving toward a community-wide system of services designed to be the best in America.

In the ensuing years, the Northwest Life Passages Coalition was formed and has been working to begin to achieve the recommendations within the Blueprint:

  • Implement an Advance Directive campaign.
  • Develop a community-based outpatient palliative care service (Northwest Life Passages at Home)
  • Establish basic palliative care competencies for clinicians in all disciplines, specialties, and practice settings.
  • Work collaboratively with the Palliative Care Institute at WWU and others to develop a comprehensive approach community education and activation.
  • Develop a coordinated approach to shorter term philanthropic funding of the recommendations while simultaneously exploring opportunities for piloting innovative care payments models.

The Northwest Regional Council now convenes the Northwest Life Passages Coalition and is committed to supporting this work as Whatcom County continues to be a state-wide leader in serious-illness care and end-of-life programs. This work is on-going and we are pleased by the increased awareness throughout our community of the importance of supportive care for those with serious illness, advance care planning, palliative care services, and the knowledge that death is a natural part of the cycle of life. Our community and cultural responses related to living with serious illness and facing our own mortality or experiencing the death of loved ones continue to evolve. To learn more, contact the Aging & Disability Resources / Senior Information & Assistance Offices for Whatcom County.

Community Conversations

The Northwest Life Passages Coalition has been given the responsibility of helping to implement this Blueprint. As part of that goal, we host community conversations about each pillar. Our intent is to share the progress that has been made, the challenges we still face and to listen to your ideas and concerns.

At each community conversation, we will briefly share the current status of the Blueprint pillars in Whatcom County, explore current challenges we face as we seek to provide more robust advance care planning coordination, community education and activation, outpatient and community based palliative care, and outline some new initiatives and promising models for implementing these programs.

Each session is designed to explore the community’s ideas and concerns so that we can continue to make progress toward our goal of creating a community of care that supports seriously ill patients in their homes and other community-based settings. Notes from the Community Conversations can be found at the Palliative Care Institute CEDAR site.