WPHF Inspires WPMH to Join End-of-Life Conversation Project

Older African American and sonEnd-of-life conversations are tough to initiate – whether they are with family members or health care providers. As a result, many never have them.

But a national initiative, called The Conversation Project , is focused on making sure people are able to express their wishes for end-of-life care and get them respected.  And, it is working with health care providers to make sure the wishes are respected through a companion project called Conversation Ready.

Winter Park Memorial Hospital (WPMH) is getting involved in Conversation Ready by participating in a nine-month collaborative learning community with support from a $14,850 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF).

Launched by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Conversation Ready program is focused on finding ways health care organizations can effectively respect and respond to what matters most to their patients at the end of life.

WPMH has assembled a team of multidisciplinary professionals to engage in this effort joining representatives from 22 health care organizations across the country.  Teams will choose to test one or more of the five guiding principles:

1. Engage with all patients and families to understand what matters to them at the end of life;

2. Steward this information as reliably as allergy information;

3. Partner with patients and families to develop appropriate goals of care at the end of life;

4. Have employees exemplify this work in their own lives, so that they understand the benefits and challenges; and

5. Connect in a manner that is culturally and individually respectful of each patient and their family.

WPMH has assembled an enthusiastic team that is excited to engage in this effort, according to Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director.  Several physicians, case managers, the geriatric care coordinator, patient access and patient safety officers, a representative from nursing leadership, and the geriatric clinical nurse specialist/NICHE coordinator will all provide ongoing clinical input.  In addition, an information technology professional and the Director of Program Management and Strategic Operations will be actively engaged. Ms. Silvey is also a member of the team, representing patients’ families.

It is hoped this will result in improvements to current policies, processes and systems that ensure patients’ end of life wishes are documented and honored.

Click here for more information about Conversation Ready.