Forty health care and community stakeholders from Contra Costa County, California, met in April 2013 to strategize ways to promote and support end-of-life conversations, with the goal of getting more people to express their wishes and empowering the medical community to honor patient preferences. The meeting was co-led by CHCF and The Conversation Project, a national initiative created to encourage and make it easy for people to talk with their families as well as with their doctors about the care they would want if they became seriously ill.
Improving end-of-life care in Contra Costa County is a shared goal of the local medical association, area hospitals and hospice organizations, and community and faith groups, all of whom gathered to:
- Hear why our culture needs to change from one that does not talk about end of life to one that does
- Learn from the parallels between social movements of the past (for example, civil rights) and the current movement to ensure that people receive the kind of care they want at the end of life
- Learn about grassroots community organizing and how to leverage local organizations’ spheres of influence to spur change
Speakers included Judy Citco, executive director of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, and Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and cofounder of The Conversation Project. Read the meeting summary to learn why personal stories are vital to cultural change, and why now is the time to have “the conversation.”
The meeting summary is available as a Document Download.