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The Living Fully Guide: Honoring What Matters Most at the End-of-Life.

The guide would inspire sharing of end-of-life wishes, increase connection to local services, and improve connectivity between providers.

Photo of Justin Magnuson, MA, LMT
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The Open IDEO Experience

The Open IDEO challenge  has been a great learning experience and the process really sped up the timeline on the development of my idea. It seems simple, but the framing question“How might we reimagine the end-of-life experience for ourselves and our loved ones?,” provided a new way to think about changing our cultural approach to death and dying that I had not considered.  

I shared my story during the first phase of the campaign here, I think this was a great way to start building community and help articulate why the issue is so important. In addition to helping me reframe my approach to the issue, the evolving community and positive encouragement from other participants and the Open IDEO staff helped so much to rethink my submission during the process.

It was an honor to have the “Living Fully End-of-life User Guide” be selected as a finalist in the campaign. This project is in the early stages of development, in order to achieve the greatest potential for impact in the community it needs support in several areas. Included in this proposal are:

  •  A brief summary of the proposal
  •  An initial prototype
  •  A potential technology
  •  Necessary experts and resources that would be necessary to pilot the “user guide.”


The Living Fully Guide is an initiative to create a community specific end-of-life planning toolkit, available both online and as a handbook, that would serve the purpose of providing end-of-life planning information and connect users to service providers.  This idea would improve the end-of-life experience by providing patients and their families an advance care planning “roadmap," increase connectivity between related professionals, and assistance finding service providers as families seek care nearing the end-of-life, during care, and post-death.

The idea for the guide was generated by a work group that is part of a community health initiative to make Louisville the "model city to live fully into death." This group has formed slowly over the last several years in response to community conversations related to death and dying including Death Cafes, Let's Have Dinner and Talk about Death, and The Conversation Project. Several of these projects, started by Justin Magnuson, evolved into collaboration for National Healthcare Decisions Day in the spring of 2016 and the current work group. 

The group is currently seeking resources and providers in the community to create the resource list. In addition to a resource list, web development and marketing professionals have helped outline the project feasibility, estimated project costs, and refined the Living Fully Guide development strategy. Relationships are being formed with content experts related to end-of-life; including hospice/palliative care experts, healthcare professionals, gerontologists, financial advisers, elder lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, clergy, funeral directors, and concerned community members. The planning and resource guide would be authored by an advisory committee representing these fields of  expertise. Additionally, these professionals would assist with developing inclusion criteria for service providers.  

Louisville, KY, would be an ideal city to pilot this project for several reasons. The biggest of which is the mayor's initiative to make Louisville a model " Compassionate City." The Compassionate Louisville project has generated a city wide conversation about the role of compassion in our community and Louisville has been recognized as the "Most Compassionate City" for the last four years.  Over 100 local companies have signed resolutions affirming their commitment to Compassion as inspired by Karen Armstrong and the Charter for Compassion. The compassion initiative's  "Healthcare Constellation" has developed relationships with more than 500 local healthcare professionals in nearly 3 dozen healthcare organizations and is pursuing over a dozen initiatives to allow Compassion to be more of a driving force in our healthcare experiences.  This network provides an excellent opportunity to include reimagining end-of-life as part of the community conversation. 

To Be Edited...

An initial prototype

 A potential technology

 Necessary experts and resources that would be necessary to pilot the “user guide.”

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Photo of aamir

Photo of Irene

Hey Justin, 

There's so much to like about this idea and hope to see it growing till the end. Although it is a really big challenge about how to support people's needs and deepen their experience in the end-of-life time, it is still an inspiring step. Look forward to seeing it available and common as a global task sooner or later.


Photo of Justin


Thank you for the feedback, sorry for the slow response. We're working to find a sustainable model and pilot it here in Louisville, if you have ideas please be in touch! 


Photo of clash

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Photo of Helen

Love this idea!  Looking forward to seeing the growth and success of this idea.  And please make it available to Canadians. 

Photo of Justin


Thanks for the note, I am looking for ways to make it as useful and sustainable as possible. If you have thoughts I would love to hear them and be helpful to our friends to the north.