Light The Legacy is a community-based organization dedicated to working collaboratively with the community 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 that 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 group 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.
Lynn MacKenzie holds a degree in Interdepartmental Speech Communications and is certified through Respecting Choices® as an advance care planning facilitator and instructor for advance care planning facilitators. She is an experienced speaker and author of the book The Tear Catcher, which chronicles her husband’s battle with cancer and her healing journey after his death. Because of her first-hand experience with advance care planning, she is passionate about empowering people to discuss end-of-life issues, motivating them to complete health care directives, and generating this momentum in the central Minnesota community.
Michele Rosha has a background in social work and earned her Masters of Divinity degree through St. John’s School of Theology. She has over 15 years of experience working in hospice care, and is currently serving as Chaplain at the St. Cloud Hospital in Spiritual Care. Michele has provided training and delivered presentations on grief and loss, a toolkit for caregivers, spirituality, and bereavement.
SCSU Nursing Professor
Patty Bresser is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing Science at St. Cloud State University. She has a Master of Science in Nursing from Yale University and a PhD in Education from Walden University. Her specialty is Geriatric Nursing, where she teaches students about advance care planning and healthcare directives. Patty is a certified ACP facilitator and instructor, having completed her training at Respecting Choices in Wisconsin. She is on sabbatical during the 2012-2013 academic year and is working to bring ACP facilitator training to students majoring in healthcare related disciplines.