Five Years of Fostering Meaningful Conversations about End of Life Care
“It’s always too early until it’s too late.” Those cautionary words from Boston Globe columnist, Ellen Goodman, rang true for Jean Abbott and Constance Holden. Their years of experience as ethics consultants placed them in situations where a conversation about values and wishes might have prevented the family discord that can do lasting damage to family relations. They also knew that uncertainty about “what mom would have wanted” can lead to overly- aggressive care at the end of life. Upon learning about the pioneering work of Ellen Goodman and her newly formed, Conversation Project, they invited Ms Goodman to come to Boulder. The fact that 250 people showed up at the Spice of Life Event Center on May 2, 2013, convinced them that the idea of “talking to your family about your values and wishes” resonated with people in Boulder County. With the support of The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, they formed The Conversation Project in Boulder County. The original steering committee included Stephanie Rudy, Kim Mooney, Jean Abbott, Barb Beasley, Constance Holden and Lee Carlin (pictured above, left to right). Additionally, over 40 people have volunteered to be advisors, speakers and coaches. Since its inception, The Project has reached nearly 10,000 residents, urging them to choose a decision-maker and have a meaningful, values-based conversation based on the Starter Kit(link), which was developed by Ellen Goodman and her staff at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
A celebration of our 5th Anniversary will be held on April 18th at Congregation Har Hashem. Featured speaker will be Katy Butler, author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. Ms Butler will talk about caring for her elderly parents, a process that was very difficult with her father because his wishes were not known. Her mother, on the other hand, gave serious thought to her end-of-life wishes, discussing them with Katy and with her health care providers. Do come and learn from Katy Butler’s experience and to celebrate 5 Years of thoughtful service to this community.