Seven Ponds Blog: Martha Hayward is the Lead for Public and Patient Engagement at the Conversation Project, a Boston-based non-profit “dedicated to helping people talk about their end-of-life wishes.” The Conversation Project offers conversation-starters, information resources, and a venue for users around the country to share their stories. Ms. Hayward sat down with SevenPonds to tell us about her organization.
Antal: Let’s start by telling our readers a little bit about the Conversation Project. What does your organization do? How did you begin?
Martha: The idea behind the Conversation Project initiated when this relatively informal group of people, including our founder, Ellen Goodman, became aware of how ill-prepared they were when they became faced with a death. In Ellen’s case, the death of her mother. How many decisions, questions she found herself faced with that she did not know how to answer. Whether or not her mother wanted antibiotics, how far to take the palliative care, the hospice care, question after question. She wondered, why don’t I know what my mother wanted? She began to meet with people in the Boston area, surgeons, clergy, palliative and hospice care workers, bringing different perspectives into the room and asking the question: “Why aren’t we having these discussions, and what can we do to help people have these discussions?”