I've been "raised" in the homes of hospice families as a nurse for 30 years, and my passion is to empower their voices. I've been an advocate for each unique end-of-life experience communicated and have been blessed a billion times over. I've been frustrated over the years by the medical world's lack of focus on Advance Care Planning and the millions of ways communication could have lightened the burden for countless souls. I'm building ARK Community Wellness Programs to combine annual Medicare Wellness Visits with annual Advance Care Planning sessions, and host community EOL events and workshops! Together we can change the world one Conversation and one Act of Random Kindness (ARK) at a time!
ARK Community Wellness Programs will develop and facilitate a revolving 12 Month Mortality Calendar cycle, employing Community Conversation Nurses and utilizing the fabulous resources that already exist:
Being Mortal, Conversation Sabbath, Death Over Dinner, National Healthcare Decisions Day, National POLST Paradigm, The Conversation Project and GA Health Decisions Critical Conditions Planning Guide can all be combined in a cyclical 12 month event calendar something like this:
Approximately once a week, the Community Conversation Nurse would have a lunch and learn for MD office staff, Dialysis Centers, Surgical Centers, health departments, civic groups or church group to introduce them to how easy it is to begin to express end-of-life wishes with the Advance Care Planning resources available. Sponsorship for these lunch and learns (and the larger monthly events) will be offered to hospices, Medicare Advantage plans and other organizations who want to be change agents as well. Then, in addition to these routine workshops for healthcare professionals, we would also host monthly events, however small or large possible:
January – Death Over Dinner fun social events to bring in the New Year! Colleges, public health departments, corporate employee wellness workshops, etc...
February – Host special events to Give the Gift of Advance Care Planning to your loved one’s for Valentine’s Day! Host workshops or Death Over Dessert events in cafeterias of hospitals, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Tailor the event to the wishes of the event organizer, utilizing The Conversation Project Starter Kits, Being Mortal documentary showings, POLST, Critical Conditions workbooks, etc.
March – plan for National Healthcare Decisions Day or a Death Over Dinner Community event like Don't Leave Your Death to Luck... Re-imagine how you would want to spend your last days! Definitely need help re-imagining that event name!! LOL)
April – National Healthcare Decisions Day (because the 2 things we can’t avoid are death and taxes). Host community workshops to educate, advocate and complete Advance Directives and POLST forms. Heavily involve health departments and other local govt agencies.
May – plan for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month or Give the Gift of Advance Care Planning for Mother's Day
June – Give the gift of Advance Care Planning this Father's Day! or Coordinate with local Alzheimer’s Association events to host sessions advocating The Conversation Project Starter Kit for Alzheimer’s and other Dementias. June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. Join community events to educate, advocate and complete Advance Directives and POLST forms
July – Death Over Dinner fun social events and staff lunches at physician offices or "Declare Your Wish to be Independent - Write Your Advance Directives!" 4th of July Events
August – Death Over Dinner fun social events and staff lunches at physician offices or empty nesters who send their kids off to college
September – plan for Conversation Sabbath with workshops to educate and empower clergy and leaders. Labor Day events?
October – plan for Conversation Sabbath with workshops to educate and empower clergy and leaders. Day of the Dead or All Souls or Fall Harvest event themes.
November – Conversation Sabbath (across all faith communities and in hospital chapels and long term care facility ministries) Host community workshops to educate, advocate and complete Advance Directives and POLST forms. Focus on gratitude and the gift of conversation!!
December – Death over Dessert – fun Holiday Events such as “You Can’t Have Pie Until You Tell Me How You Want To Die!”
Then we do it all over again!!!