The Conversation Project- something for every person, especially nurses

I love tools that help nurses help themselves, each other, patients and families. 

I happened onto this website last week on Google by accident! I knew nothing about this little gold mine.

Imagine a world where End of Life (EOL) conversations are common and comfortable.  That’s the goal of The Conversation Project.

The Conversation Project was started by a daughter (pulitzer prize winner, Ellen Goodman) in 2010 who cared for her mother with Alzheimers for many years.  In 2011 the Project started its collaboration with The Institute of Healthcare Improvement.

The Project website and campaign is full of EOL tools, guidance and resources for all of us – as nurses, daughters, sons, spouses, friends and community members.  

It offers a a gold mine of resources for starting and propelling EOL conversations at work, at home or in your community.

Some of their facts:

  • 92% of people say that talking with their loved ones about EOL care is important
    • 32% have actually had those conversations
  • 80% of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about EOL treatment and wishes
    • 18% report having had that conversation

The Conversation Project Purpose

“The Conversation Project is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected.

Too many people die in a manner they would not choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.”

They provide links to each of these Community Resources:

  • The Conversation Starter Kit
  • Community Getting Started Guide
  • Community Calls
  • Branding Guide
  • Types of Community Partners
  • Community Case Studies
  • Tools for financial planners, churches, hospitals, faith leaders,
  • Community metric suggestions
  • Tips on finding funding
  • Trifold Brochure
  • PSA materials
  • Sample ads
  • Generic social media toolkit
  • How to host an event
  • Train the trainer
  • Presentation checklist
  • Materials for reaching college students
  • Sample power point presentation
  • On-site evaluation form
  • Event evaluation form
  • Coaching the conversation guide
  • Role play activity
  • Being Mortal discussion guide

Did you know that there is a National Healthcare Decisions Day?   It’s April 16.

My Next Steps

The idea is to just start talking with others about EOL thoughts, questions and wishes.

My next step is to do a salon / workshop at my yoga studio (where I do yoga a lot) on “Being Well when navigating big healthcare decisions”.  It’s a place with rich conversations around wellness consciousness among the teachers and students. Several are dealing with aging or parents aging.

It’s so easy to lose our sense of “being well” when we enter into the healthcare system and  decision making.  I thought I would start here.

A friend of mine (an NP) does parties with friends of friends called “wine and wills”.  She guides people to just start talking about EOL wishes with loved ones, to identify a proxy decision maker and then she introduces them to the online advance healthcare directive forms.

One resource item in The Conversation Project is a “Death Over Dinner” guide. The idea is to host a dinner party and prompt people to talk!   I’m definitely doing this. The link offers preparation, step by step. So clever.

This site gives us the tools to normalize EOL conversations and create a world where EOL conversations can be common and comfortable. 

I’m so grateful.

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