Starting the Conversation in Central Florida

IMG_1056 (002)The Conversation Project in Central Florida was created with funding provided by the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) in late 2014.  This one-year grant administered by the Florida chapter of the National Gerontological Nursing Association, funded That’s important because a 2013 national survey reported while 90% of people say talking with their loved ones about end of life care is vital, only 27% have actually done so.

Over the life of the grant, large numbers of people were reached in a variety of ways.  Originally, it was estimated 50 individuals would receive specialized training designed to help them become more comfortable having or leading end of life discussions.  In actuality, over 175 people were trained.  The goal of providing 60 community presentations grew to 150 and through newsletters, professional networking events, articles in publications and brochures, TV and radio show interviews, asIMG_1050 (002) well as social media.  An estimated 35,000 connections were made, far exceeding the goal of 1,800.

Given the high level of interest in this issue, it is timely that beginning this year, Medicare will start reimbursing for advance care planning—discussions physicians and other health professionals have with their patients regarding end-of-life care and patient preferences. “It is hoped the training provided to health care professionals through The Conversation Project will better prepare them to comfortably broach a very sensitive topic,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director – Older Adults, adding “it was indeed rewarding to be on the leading edge of this movement that has drawn interested people from families, faith communities, senior housing, public libraries, and colleges/universities. We are quite pleased with the project’s success and hope this increased awareness translates into many more conversations about end of life care.”