[LUCKY] SEVERSON: In La Crosse, Wisconsin, 96 percent of the patients who die have gone through these advance directive discussions and designated how they would prefer to spend their last days.
[BERNARD] HAMMES (lecturing): This program is not trying to talk people out of treatment. This program is trying to help patients make informed decisions so that we know what they would want even in a crisis, and we can deliver the services that match their preferences.
SEVERSON: The program has been so successful representatives from around the country now attend seminars at Gundersen Lutheran. The success is due, in part, to the backing of the Catholic and Lutheran churches. A similar program is underway in Minneapolis-St. Paul, which is supported by the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, Pastor Leith Anderson of the Wooddale Church outside Minneapolis. He says he witnessed too many families going through emotional turmoil when their loved one was dying.