WIHI Online “Talk Show” – Conversations as Cornerstones for End-of-Life Wishes

Posted on 08/13/2012

August 30, 2012: Conversations as Cornerstones for End-of-Life Wishes

2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Time

Ellen Goodman, co-founder, The Conversation Project; Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist and author
Larry Weber, Chairman, W2 Group; Author, Everywhere: Comprehensive Digital Business Strategy for the Social Media Era
Martha Hayward, Lead for Public and Patient Engagement, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

We have lots of meaningful conversations in the course of our lives, but topping the list has to be talking with family members and loved ones about our own — or their — wishes for care at the end of life. Despite the inevitability of death, for many of us this is the last conversation we either want to have or know how to have; it can be especially difficult to initiate. And yet, without these discussions, we or our loved ones run the risk of running headlong into a medical crisis and getting care we don’t want, and not getting the care we do.

Back in January, WIHI offerred listeners a preview of a ground-breaking, grass-roots initiative aimed at changing this state of affairs. The Conversation Project — whose goal is that everyone’s end-of-life wishes will be expressed and respected — is launching this August in collaboration with IHI, and some of its key founders and creators will be back in the WIHI studio on August 30 to explain what the effort is all about and how you can participate. From the get-go, Ellen Goodman’s vision has been that end-of-life conversations need to become normalized – and that the best place to have the conversation is at the kitchen table, not in the ICU. To support its public campaign, The Conversation Project has created a website that will act as ground zero for collecting and spreading stories, sharing tips and templates to help people get started, and facilitating the networking that’s crucial when trying to bring about cultural change. The latest social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) will be available to extend the reach and impact of what everyone is learning along the way.

IHI’s Martha Hayward will join Ellen Goodman on WIHI to discuss how The Conversation Project can accelerate efforts to make health care more patient- and family-centered — and not just pertaining to end-of-life care, but with a myriad of health issues. WIHI Host Madge Kaplan is also pleased to welcome Larry Weber from W2 Group to the show. Larry’s knowledge of social media and its potential to unleash social change has been a critical component of the development of The Conversation Project.