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News from The Conversation Project in Boulder County and TRU Community Care
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The Conversation is
more important now than ever

In this time of medical uncertainty, what matters most to you? Have you talked to your family about what you would want if you got really sick? This is no longer abstract – it is a real possibility for all of us. 

We are writing as healthcare professionals, a physician and a social worker, who have worked to encourage people to talk to their loved ones and decision-makers regularly, especially as their health changes. 

But now the health of our whole community is threatened. These times require action on behalf of ourselves, our family and our wider community. When was the last time you reviewed your advance directives? When was the last time you discussed your medical treatment preferences with your decision-maker and loved ones? For too many people, completing advance directives is a one-time event. Folks fill them out and put them in a drawer, never to be considered again. But people and situations change over time. The person that completed an advance directive five or ten years ago is different today, and their preferences may have evolved as well. 

Two tools you could use to have these challenging and intimate conversations are the Starter Kit and COVID-19 Discussion Guide from The Conversation Project. Our mission is to ensure that the end-of-life values of every person are expressed and respected. We have no preference or judgment for the type of medical treatment people choose. Instead, we encourage thoughtful consideration of your preferences in the context of your unique situation. Filling out advance directives often feels less than concrete, given future unknowns, but our current situation is more specific. This is a chance to talk about very particular treatment preferences. If you were to contract the coronavirus infection in your current condition, would you want to be hospitalized? Would you want to be on a ventilator?

Talking to your loved-ones about what matters most to you is a gift. It means peace of mind in an otherwise confusing and grief-stricken situation. Tell your community that you love them. Ask for forgiveness and forgive those around you. In the past week, excuses to postpone important conversations have disappeared. We have more time on our hands. There is no better time than today. 

- Amanda Meier, BSW, MA, Project Coordinator,
The Conversation Project at TRU Community Care

- Jean Abbott, MD, Center for Bioethics and Humanities,
Anschutz Medical Campus

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is April 16, 2020. This day exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. On NHDD, a series of nation-wide events will be held in various settings to help de-mystify the process of advance care planning. We hope that no one will escape its reach. 

The arrival and spread of coronavirus has intensified the importance of advance care planning and NHDD. We all need to choose decision-makers and have specific conversations with them about what we want if we become seriously ill. Only 1/3 of adults in the Unites States have talked to their loved ones about their end-of-life preferences. We want to help change that.

During the third week of April, we will offer special advance care planning programs. Join us April 15th at 1pm for a live Zoom presentation covering COVID-19 specific advance care planning. On April 16th, trained Conversation Coaches will be available via Zoom and by telephone throughout the day. We can answer questions about advance care planning and provide the right documents to ensure your wishes are respected, including very specific coronavirus care preferences.

Advance Care Planning in the Era of COVID-19
April 15, 2020  1-2pm
Zoom presentation (click here)

Advance Directive Open House (Online or by telephone)
April 16, 2020  8am-6pm
Appointments are available every 20 minutes all day. Sign up for you appointment by clicking here.

If you are unable to attend our event on April 16, no problem. We always have volunteer coaches available. Contact Amanda Meier at amandameier@trucare.org or 303-250-4510 to schedule a session. Online and telephone options available. All services are free.

Social connection during
a time of social distancing

By Ellen Goodman, Founder, The Conversation Project

How remarkable and hard it is to hear Americans being urged into “social distancing.” As if we had not been too distant already, as if we were all not subject to the centrifuge of modern American life that has us, in Robert Putnam’s words, “bowling alone.”

If there is anything, however, that we are learning from this anxious moment, it’s that we are all connected and dependent on each other and on our leaders. Yes, we need to stand apart physically but reach out emotionally. We are in THIS together.

Our health, even our life, hinges now on an entire community feeling and acting responsibly. It hinges on the recognition that we are dependent on and responsible for everyone: ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our coworkers, our health workers, our government, and the strangers who are worrying deeply about paychecks and day care and safety. We have to step up to the moment and see ourselves as one community, one country.

At The Conversation Project, our motto has been that “it’s always too soon until it’s too late” to talk about what matters to us. How much truer that is now. This crisis came upon us with warp speed, and we need to react just as quickly and constantly. Who would you turn to in a crisis? What is your plan? Who needs you?

Even in a time of social distancing, talking to each other and caring for each other is still the glue that keeps us together.

Other COVID-19 information and resources
  • TCPBC resources for COVID-19 (click)
  • The Conversation Project COVID-19 Discussion Guide (click)
  • Advance Directives – A call to action (click)
  • There's a name for how you're feeling now (click)
Around the kitchen table

TCPBC has always encouraged people to discuss their end-of-life values “around the kitchen table.” We might not be able to literally gather, but conversations can happen in so many other ways. You might consider a phone call or even a video conversation using Zoom or FaceTime. These communication tools are free and easy to use. Don’t forget to download our free Conversation Starter Kit to help clarify your values.

Help our neighbors

There are a number of ways you can reach out to help our neighbors in Boulder County. Here's how (click here).

You could also consider a donation to TCPBC. We will continue to serve our community in new and creative ways during this uncertain time. Your support is vital to our efforts.

Donate here
Event updates

The Conversation Project in Boulder County is committed to the continuation of our services and education throughout this uncertain time. We have had to cancel or post-pone our Spring 2020 public events, but we are quickly moving presentations and coaching sessions online. Please stay tuned to our Facebook page or www.theconversationprojectinbouldercounty.org for current updates. 

  • First Presbyterian - Cancelled and will reschedule
  • Caregiver’s Symposium - Rescheduled for Sept. 30
  • Lafayette Spring Faith Community Series - Postponed to Fall 2020
  • National Healthcare Decisions Day - We will be available from 8am-6pm for advance directive guidance. Sign up for an appointment clicking here.
Copyright © 2020 The Conversation Project in Boulder County in c/o TRU Community Care, All rights reserved.


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