Inspiring Conversations: 5 Ideas for National Healthcare Decisions Day 2021

Posted on 02/26/2021

Over the years we’ve been “wowed” by the plethora of outreach and events hosted for hundreds of thousands of community members across the globe in service to National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). We’ve written blogs, hosted calls and have added to the large repository of resources and stories shared with us since NHDD’s inception.  But we’ve never been so encouraged and heartened by what we’ve witnessed over the last year and even more so this year as NHDD 2021 approaches. Groups all over have been pivoting their approach – despite their own selves, families, and important people in their life being personally affected by the pandemic with unprecedented number of lives lost  – to ensure community members are talking about what matters most to them when it comes their health care wishes. On our most recent NHDD planning call, over 60 groups gathered on the line to share their inspiring plans. Check out the call recording, chat and slides for a full set of ideas. Below are five of the many inspiring ideas groups are sharing with us.

  • Reach out to local journalists, radio or podcast hosts who have written about or hosted a show in the past advocating for advance care planning, health care advocacy, aging, serious illness, or end of life.

Share the word about NHDD and make it easy for them by sharing a few of your favorite resources that they could share in another article/podcast.

    • Jennifer A. O’Brien (author of The Hospice Doctor’s Widow: A Journal) and Lori LoCicero & Lisa Pahl (Co-Creators of The Death Deck) joined forces to create a media outreach project to increase awareness for NHDD. They sent personalized versions of this email, with links to The Conversation Project Guides and other favorite resources, to a dozen journalists who had authored features on end-of-life preparation for major print media. They also are planning a 16-day social media campaign starting April 1st across their social media channels.
  • Host a series of events leading up to NHDD/April 16th to hook folks in and support them along the path to taking action. Consider targeting education to help support those most vulnerable.
    • Peaceful Presence End of Life Doulas created a four-part, virtual workshop series leading up to NHDD. Each session builds on the previous to walk participants through the process of thinking, talking, planning, and documenting wishes for care. (What matters to me? Who will speak for me? End of life choices. Advance Directives).
    • The Conversation Project Boulder County is working with the City of Boulder’s Older Adult Services (previously known as a “senior center”) to combine forces on NHDD.  They plan to do a virtual, NHDD-themed presentation for their community members, followed by an online advance care planning (ACP) open house with hour-long one-on-one appointments with their ACP coaches. They are also starting an “aging solo” group in March and will share information with this group as well during NHDD.
    • Honoring Choices Virginia created a professional learning series, featuring a session on “ACP and Mental Health” the week of NHDD. This session will bring together ACP advocates and mental health professionals alike. Using NHDD as a rallying cry, they are working with NAMI Virginia and the organizations represented by their panelists to recruit a diverse audience to this session. They will then make an additional call to action for attendees to download and utilize new resources developed by NAMI Virginia that will help them better engage patients living with mental illness about ACP. This is part of a larger call to action in a series of virtual ACP workshops open to anyone across the state, taking place around the time of NHDD.
  • Create a live Social Media event, podcast or social media campaign to help with promotion.
    • Hospice of Southern Illinois hosted a series of three Facebook live events, one per week, leading up to NHDD 2020. They shared documents, resources (including walking folks through the Conversation Starter Guide), tips and talked about the process of advance care planning. Their plans for 2021 are similar, with the addition of a podcast episode and listening contest. They will be giving away Apple AirPods to help promote the episode and add a bit of incentive.
  • Rally your community, staff, employees, etc. around a campaign or collective challenge.
    • Frontier Nursing University (FNU) hosted an interactive, virtual workshop for their students, alumni and staff. They introduced The Conversation Project and broke into small discussion groups to walk through the Conversation Starter Guide together. On the call, they announced the start of their “Conversation Project Challenge”, urging the entire FNU community to set their own end-of-life care plans before NHDD on April 16. To make it easy, they sent a post-workshop follow-up email with details on 5 simple steps to take with links to resources to help each person think, talk to and designate a healthcare proxy, and complete an advance directive.  They noted:  while this (voluntary) challenge is about completing your personal end-of-life care plans, we hope that you will also share this information with your family, friends, local community, and patients!
    • Honoring Choices Virginia is also working to build a cohesive messaging campaign with their local (greater Richmond, VA) network of partners, the Central Virginia Advance Directives Collaborative (Charlottesville, VA), and Health Quality Innovators. The campaign will be community-focused, providing messaging for all participating organizations to use to promote ACP resources to their respective audiences. They also hope to have some mass media coverage.
  • Don’t have the bandwidth to create something this year? No problem! Tap into and share the numerous existing opportunities that already abound, with your community.

Already have something brewing for this year’s NHDD on April 16th?  Share your plans below!

One Response

  1. The Goals of Care Coalition of NJ (GOCCNJ), NJ Advocates for Aging Well (NJAAW) & the NJ Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI) are co-hosting a virtual town hall on April 16th at 12pm to educate the public about the importance of advance care planning and to empower individuals to discuss, decide and document their wishes. Hear from experts including Dr. David Barile, Founder & Medical Director of GOCCNJ, Carl Archer, Eldercare Attorney, and Dapa Wilcox, Community Coordinator for the NJHCQI’s Conversation of Your Life program and ask questions of our distinguished panel. Please join us. To register click here:

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