The Conversation Project

We always talk about the fact that having ‘The Conversation‘ is an important, but often a difficult and emotionally challenging task. We wanted to tell you about a excellent resource available on-line: The Conversation Project, spearheaded by national columnist Ellen Goodman.

The Conversation Project isn’t about filling out Advance Directives or other medical forms. It’s about talking to your loved ones about what you or they want for end-of-life care. Explore their virtual kitchen table, with videos or step-by-step PDF files.  The holidays are often a good time for these conversations, as we spend time with loved ones.

In 2020, The Conversation Project updated their Starter Kits and developed new Starter Guides to support and encourage people to have The Conversation about what matters most. These newly revised Starter Guides have been thoughtfully curated and edited by Conversation Project Champions across the nation who regularly use The Conversation Project Materials. See the new versions here:

  • Download the new 2021 Your Conversation Starter Guide
  • Download the updated (March) 2023 Your Guide to Choosing a Health Care Agent
  • Note: Before filling in a writable/fillable PDF of your Your Conversation Starter Guide or Your Guide to Choosing a Health Care Agent, save it to your desktop. Otherwise, anything you type in online it will not be saved.
  • Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese version of the Starter Kit is available on the Conversation Project’s website. (Please scroll all the way down to the Starter Kit Translations fold out menu and download the PDF file.)
  • Download the familiar, original from before 2021 (writable/fillable PDF) 12-page TCP Starter Kit
  • Download a black and white version of the original Starter Kit for printing (This is NOT a fillable PDF file, just for printing in black and white)

New Resource: Audio Version of the Starter Guide

The Conversation Project has created audio versions of their English Starter Guides. Subjects available on audio include: 

These guides are between 14-19 minutes long, and are a great alternative for individuals who prefer using audio tools. The audio guides are currently listed with the other guides.

Download a brand new Conversation Project guide specific to COVID-19, to help people take action and be prepared. We can’t control how this pandemic plays out. But we can control who speaks for us if we’re unable to speak for ourselves, and we can take the time to make sure they know what matters most to us. Have this conversation today. (April 10, 2020)

Practice Makes Perfect – Video

We know that starting conversations about end-of-life care wishes with your loved ones can be hard – the video from The Conversation Project is here to help (and hopefully make you smile as well).  Practice Makes Perfect – Video on The Conversation webpage.

The Conversation Project – How to Talk to Your Doctor

The Conversation Project has updated How to Talk to Your Doctor, a guide to discussing end-of-life care with doctors, nurses, or other health care providers. The guide addresses basic steps that span the entire process (“Get Ready,” “Get Set,” “Go,” and “Keep Going”). It can be used as a workbook to make notes with a health care team. You can download the 12-page PDF file here.

How to Have Conversations with Older Adults About “What Matters”: A Guide for Getting Started

Are you having trouble knowing how to begin to ask those you care for What Matters to them? This new, action-oriented guide from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Age-Friendly initiative is for individual staff and care teams working with older adults in any care setting. It has simple, concrete steps for starting this conversation, suggested phrases and sample questions to help you begin, and ways to continue, improve, and expand your efforts. This short guide serves as a companion piece to the What Matters to Older Adults? A Toolkit for Health Systems to Design Better Care with Older Adults.

How to Choose a Health Care Agent & How to Be a Health Care Agent

In addition to having the conversation, it’s important to choose a health care agent – the person who will make decisions about your medical care if you become unable to make them for yourself. This new user-friendly guide from The Conversation Project offers facts and tips necessary to make sound decisions about choosing, and being, a health care proxy. Download the 16-page PDF file here.

Chinese Translation of “What Matters to Me Workbook” for Serious Illness Conversations – Resource

The Conversation Project and Ariadne Labs’ Serious Illness Care Program released a Chinese translation of the What Matters to Me Workbook, a free resource designed to help people with a serious illness prepare to talk to their health care team about what is most important to them. Download the workbook in Chinese or English.

The Conversation Project – Getting Started Guide for Congregations

The Conversation Project is pleased to announce a new, free Getting Started Guide for Congregations is now available on line (click on the image of the report to download the PDF file)

The ideas and examples in this guide emerged from the years of work they have done with clergy and lay leaders across the country who have tested ways to bring advance care planning and crucial Conversations into your congregations.

The Conversation Project: Alzheimer’s Resources

Families caring for loved ones with cognitive impairments face special challenges when it comes to managing their end-of-life care. Often caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are left to make critical decisions on their own, as the afflicted are no longer able to speak for themselves.

The new Starter Kit created specifically to address the issues associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is the first of its kind and is now available free for download as a PDF on the The Conversation Project’s website.

  • For local resources you may also check out Hawaii Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (HADI), at the Center on Aging, University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Story Telling and Recording: An Interactive Webinar with StoryCorps

The Conversation Project teamed up with StoryCorps in an interactive webinar to take the fear out of recording stories with loved ones.  All you need is a smart phone and e few easy stps for a guided conversation. The recording of the webinar and PDF resource files are available at the “Community Resource Center” on their website. Scroll down and click on the the StoryCorps App for the recording and the PDF files.

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