Dear Colleague Letter from Dr. Bud Hammes of Respecting Choices: Clarification on the use of Respecting Choices nutritional and breathing support patient education materials

From: Respecting Choices <>
Subject: Clarification on the use of Respecting Choices nutritional and breathing support patient education materials
Date: February 28, 2014 at 12:09:03 PM CST
To: Undisclosed recipients:;

Dear Colleague,

The Respecting Choices® program recently received a letter from a disabilities awareness group expressing concern about two of our advance care planning (ACP) patient education materials. The materials regarding nutritional and breathing support are well designed for their intended purpose of helping people with advanced illness make informed decisions. However, we take it seriously any time concerns are raised about our program or materials. Over the next few months, Respecting Choices will work with a number of disabilities awareness groups to make the pieces even stronger.

The materials that will be evaluated are MC 760-E and MC 760-S Tube Feeding, and MC 770-E and MC 770-S Help with Breathing. We encourage you to continue using the materials. If you currently have a materials license agreement with Respecting Choices, the updated files will be sent to you as soon as they are available. If you have purchased inventory and would like to replace your inventory once the new materials are ready, please contact our office at the number below. You are not required to replace your current inventory.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you about the intended use of these support materials. The nutritional and breathing support printed facts are not intended to assist healthy adults, individuals with minor medical problems or individuals with disabilities with advance care planning. They are designed for competent patients who have serious, progressive, life-limiting conditions and who may face these treatment decisions and death in the near future. These are the patients with whom you would have Next Steps and Last Steps® conversations. When these support materials are used by skilled facilitators in the context of these conversations, they serve as helpful decision aids.

It is important that these materials be used only with these specific patient populations and by a trained facilitator. Without the context of the conversation, these printed facts may be misinterpreted.

Respecting Choices is in the process of developing a work group to review the two documents. The work group will include members of the disabilities community. We look forward to receiving their input and advice, which will allow us to enhance the materials and help even more families as they make decisions about their future medical care. If you would like to be part of this work group, please contact me directly at (608) 775-2412.

If you have any questions about the materials or the Respecting Choices program, I encourage you to contact our team at (608) 775-4747 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 54747.


Bernard “Bud” Hammes, PhD
Medical director of Respecting Choices® and Humanities