The Conversation Project Launches New Online Community Resource Center
Made Possible through Cambia Health Foundation
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. | Starting the conversation about individual values, wishes and preferences for end-of-life care before a medical crisis has become easier thanks to a grant from Cambia Health Foundation. The effort will expand The Conversation Project to communities, employers, and neighborhoods with enhanced tools made available to the public through a new virtual Community Resource Center.
The Community Resource Center launched this month on theconversationproject.org and will serve as a template for change, helping individuals and families throughout the country express their wishes regarding goals of care. Any community leader or individual can create a free profile through the website’s portal and gain unlimited access to the free materials and resources available.
The Conversation Project launched in 2012 in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman, the project is a public engagement campaign dedicated to ensuring that everyone’s wishes for end-of-life care are expressed and respected. At the heart of the project is the Conversation Starter Kit, a downloadable guide that helps people have “the conversation” about their preferences for end-of-life care. The Starter Kit is designed to be used by families or individuals, as a way to help them think about and communicate important decisions when facing a life-limiting or terminal illness.
The Conversation Project currently shares its resources and messaging with a broad array of stakeholders, including civic and volunteer organizations, health care systems, senior centers, libraries, houses of worship and employers across the country. Hundreds of organizations and communities are actively engaged in the work of The Conversation Project, participating in monthly conference calls, hosting events, workshops and seminars in their towns and neighborhoods.
When the time came to create The Conversation Project’s Community Resource Center, the nonprofit tapped its best resource, polling its nationwide network to bring together the best practices, lessons learned, and tips from the field on spreading The Conversation Project’s mission in diverse communities.
The information gleaned from these groups will help other communities with similar demographics navigate the challenges of cultural, religious, and language barriers. The free materials, sample templates, and downloadable guides will be easily accessible so future leaders can customize the documents to their region and can adapt them for new audiences.
“We have the privilege of partnering with some of the most intelligent, passionate, and creative individuals across the country,” says Kate DeBartolo, The Conversation Project’s national field manager. “Our community groups are among our best assets and serve as our nonprofit’s megaphone on many levels. It was great to collaborate with them to build and fuel our new online tool. Our resources will continue to grow as our communities and partnerships do.”
The Community Resource Center also hosts a blog, Talking Matters, featuring articles by DeBartolo and other team members and guest posts by members of The Conversation Project community network.
The grant from the Cambia Health Foundation, a founding funder of The Conversation Project, is intended to expand access to the campaigns tools to an even wider and more diverse audience.
“We are proud of our long-standing partnership with The Conversation Project and we are excited about this opportunity to support the Community Resource Center,” said Peggy Maguire, President and Board Chair of Cambia Health Foundation. “This new investment will help advance one of the most important conversations of a lifetime and clearly aligns with Cambia Health Foundation’s focus on increasing awareness and quality of palliative care.”
A survey released by Kelton 2012 showed that while 90 percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss their own and their loved ones’ wishes for end-of-life care, only 30 percent actually do. Similarly, 70 percent of people say they want to die at home, but in reality, 70 percent die in hospitals or institutions.
The goal of The Conversation Project is to close that gap and help individuals and their loved ones live out their final days in the way they would choose, honoring their wishes in death the same way we do in life – with dignity, respect, and deep compassion. Studies show that when there is a meaningful conversation about end-of-life choices, survivors report feeling less guilt, less depression, and an easier process of grieving.
About The Conversation Project
The Conversation Project, co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ellen Goodman and launched in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), is a public engagement campaign 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. The Conversation Project offers people the tools, guidance, and resources they need to begin talking with their loved ones about their wishes and preferences, before a medical crisis – “at the kitchen table,” not in the intensive care unit. For more information, visit theconversationproject.org.
About Cambia Health Foundation
Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience the health care system. A 501(c)3 grantmaking organization, the Foundation partners with organizations to create a more person-focused and economically sustainable health care system. Cambia Health Foundation’s investments in palliative care advance patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering. Learn more at www.cambiahealthfoundation.org, and follow us on Twitter: @CambiaHealthFdn.