Offerings in the Works . . .

The planning team has so many wonderful ideas to keep Vashon engaged in conversations for the living about dying. Our ideas and plans include:

  • Meeting at the Vashon Brew Pub and Colvos Brewing to play some fun card and board games: a “Go Wish” card deck to stimulate you to think and talk about what’s important to you if you become seriously ill and “the Death Deck” with great questions to stimulate conversations about our favorite topic. We’ll post summer dates and times in the next few weeks.

The two “Before I Die Boards” positioned at Ober Park and Vashon Presbyterian Church at the Strawberry Festival attracted lots of attention. The Vashon Rotary Club members constructed these beautiful boards. Young and old picked up a piece of chalk, reflected on their lives and wrote in ever-simple words their personal aspirations. The boards offered an opportunity to share hopes and dreams. It was inspiring, fun and sometimes funny to read those words and to listen as people discussed them. We hope to tote the boards to the Farmer’s Market sometime this summer.

What adults and kids wrote on our Before I Die Walls . . . Before I Die I Want to –

  • see my (great) granddaughters reach adulthood

  • see a female president

  • see the Northern lights

  • travel with my grandbabies and take lots of pictures

  • see no one go hungry

  • not die and go to Paris

  • 30 more lilac seasons to be engulfed in

  • celebrate my 100th birthday

  • play the accordion

  • write a bestselling novel

  • sail around Vancouver Island

  • love unconditionally all beings

  • ride my bike across the US

  • feel really good about my aging body

  • read War and Peace

  • meet my grandbabies and stop making lists

  • be on Broadway

  • drive across the country – talk to lots of different people

  • go to college and to Paris

  • step foot on every continent

  • love my sweetheart a long, long, long time

A small group gathered this spring for a workshop on Writing Ethical Wills and Legacy Letters. Another workshop will be offered in 2020.

Continue to check our events page for information . . .

What's the difference -- Advance Directive versus POLST?

Sixty islanders recently spent a few hours together on a sunny Sunday afternoon learning about the realities of advanced medical interventions. On June 10, Kimberly Benner, RN described the outcomes of advanced medical interventions like Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), intubation, tracheotomies and feeding tubes for patients in the short and long term. It was a sobering and frank presentation with the intent of supporting good decision-making before an accident or serious illness occurs. There were great questions and useful discussion throughout the session.

Kimberly included a helpful description of the differences between a Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form and an Advance Directive. The following is a summary:

A POLST form does not replace an advance directive — they work together. While all adults should have an advance directive, not all should have a POLST form. Unlike advance directives, a POLST summarizes the patients' wishes in the form of medical orders. A POLST form can help ensure that a patient’s wishes are followed by medical professionals and is complementary to but different from an Advance Directive, which allows patients to detail their wishes for end-of-life care. An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to share your wishes with your loved ones and health care team if you can't speak for yourself.

Advance Directive:

  • Is best developed in a non-emergency situation

  • Is witnessed by two non-relatives and best if signed by a notary

  • For anyone over age 18 and is developed at any stage of wellness or illness

  • Provides instructions for future treatment

  • Does not guide emergency medical personnel

  • Guides inpatient and outpatient treatment decisions when made available

  • An Advance Directive is an appropriate tool for persons who wish to make known to their loved ones any future end-of-life care wishes


  • Is printed on brightly colored paper (i.e., shocking pink or bright green)—while a bright color is not mandatory it does promote visibility and recognition

  • Is best developed in a non-emergency situation

  • For persons with serious illness or frailty—at any age and when a healthcare professional would not be surprised if the patient died within one year

  • Provides medical orders for current treatment

  • Guides actions by emergency medical personnel when made available

  • Guides inpatient treatment decisions when made available

  • Is an appropriate tool for these patients where their current health status indicates the need for standing medical orders