If seeing your family, ordering your affairs, and having end-of-life conversations concerning your last wishes is important to you––you’re not alone. Ninety percent of Americans desire some form of contact with their family before passing away, but only thirty percent of them are actively engaged in conversation.

At WV Caring, we understand how hard it can be to conduct these conversations. That’s why we’ve partnered with The Conversation Project and have mentioned a few helpful tips to get you started. Read on to discover more.

Make Decisions Earlier, Not Later

End-of-life discussions can be the hardest to find the right words to say. There’s no easy way to discuss terminal illness, weakness, or death. The reality is: It happens to us all. Having earlier discussions, while still in good health, might ensure that you get the right care, the right way, and when you need it.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Choose the Right Place: A quiet, comfortable, and private location.
  • Ask Permission: “I’d like to talk about how you would like to be cared for if you got really sick. Is that okay?”
  • Initiate Conversation: Try to share recent events, an article, magazine, television show, or movie that deals with the topic. Hardly a week goes by without an important news event or newspaper article related to end-of-life care.
  • Other Tools: “Go Wish” cards are a set of 36 cards with short statements of things people often cite as being important to them. These promote discussions regarding values and wishes and enable the person to prioritize what is most important to them.

It’s never too early to start this discussion. Your wishes for end-of-life care matter. Life can be unpredictable, and the better prepared you are, the more time you’ll have to enjoy what time you have left.

National Healthcare Decisions Day

National Healthcare Decisions Day (4/16) is a national day of awareness designed to inspire, educate and empower both the public and healthcare providers about the importance of advanced care planning.

“After serving patients and families struggling with advanced illness for more than 38 years, the comment we hear most frequently is, ‘I wish I had known about you sooner,’” said Malene Davis, Chief Visionary Officer & Founding President, and CEO of WV Caring. “By partnering with an organization dedicated to having the conversation before it’s too late, we’ve been able to educate countless members of our community who need help, but don’t know where to turn.”

The Conversation Project

The Conversation Project, co-founded in 2012 by Ellen Goodman, and launched in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), has been inspiring end-of-life conversations with American families for years. Recently, it has begun to garner the support of national, state, and local levels.

The Conversation Project aims to spark cultural change by encouraging discussions to take place with love, ease, and reflection before their healthcare becomes a crisis.

Their website is the heart and home of the campaign’s work, which includes the Conversation Project Starter Kit, a free downloadable, which is a step-by-step guide developed to help individuals and families start the conversation about end-of-life care.

The WV Caring Way

Founded in 1983, our non-profit organization has been on the front lines of Hospice Care for nearly four decades. We provide timely care to those in need, and in a way that best suits them.

We’re dedicated to improving care for those facing life-limiting illnesses and providing advocacy, outreach, and education to the entire community.

When it comes to end-of-life conversations, don’t wait. We’re here for you.

To learn more, contact WV Caring at 1-866-656-9790