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Advance Care Planning is a deliberate, thoughtful process that enables medical decision-making honoring a person’s wishes in the event that he or she is incapacitated. Evidence-based research indicates that Advance Care Planning is essential for support of patient autonomy, quality of life, improving the health of populations, increasing patient and provider satisfaction, and reducing cost of care.

Due to the increased recognition that a focused and unified approach is needed to improve communication between patients, their families, caretakers, healthcare providers, and even between healthcare systems, faculty from the Department of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences are leading efforts to encourage South Dakotans to define and articulate their needs and wants regarding individualized Advance Care Planning.

They convened the “Advance Care Planning: Quality Conversations” collaborative in 2015 to address this urgent need. The collaborative is composed of an interprofessional, multi-institutional team led by USD Nursing. The state’s major health care systems, Avera, Sanford Health, Regional Health, and the Sioux Falls Veterans Affairs Hospital are represented through many professional specialties. More information, and information on participating, can be found at

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