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Before You Get Sick, Have the Talk

Posted on 04/12/2013

ABCNational Health Care Decision Day has grown into a nationwide effort supported by hospital, hospice and medical associations.

“We all know that 100 percent of us are going to die, but starting the conversation is often hard,” said Ellen Goodman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and founder of The Conversation Project. The project is designed to help families start a conversation around their wishes if they are ill or incapacitated.

The organization grew out of Goodman’s experience when her mother became ill and passed away.

“I was faced with a series of cascading decisions for which I felt unprepared and blindsided,” said Goodman, whose mother had never laid out her desires. “I sure wish I could have heard her voice in my ear as I was going through this process.”

Polls consistently show that most people say it’s important to put their end-of-life issues in writing, but most have not done so. “It’s [always] too soon,” said Goodman, “until it’s too late.”

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