By Helen McNeal, Executive Director of the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care
When it comes to doing our advance directive and having crucial conversations with those we love, I think what gets in the way is … life! Too many other things to do … too many other priorities. Look at how long it has taken me (almost 6 weeks!) to get back to you and share how my advance care planning challenge to the Institute staff ended.
As you may remember, at our April staff meeting, I asked the Institute staff how many had completed an advance directive. The answer was less than 20% and I was shocked. So I challenged them to give me a very special birthday present … and complete their advance directive and have the conversation with their loved ones.
By May 1…
As this picture illustrates … by May 1, 100% had completed them!
I don’t believe that they did it for me or because it was my birthday. I believe that they did it because I asked them and I gave them a deadline. (And, no one wanted to be the one to let the team down in achieving 100%!)
In the press of life, deadlines help. That’s why so many advance directives get done when someone is seriously ill or dying … there is a serious deadline. But, even less serious deadlines (and a bit of competitive spirit!) make a difference.
So to all of you colleagues and friends of the Institute, I repeat my challenge … challenge your team to go for 100% completion on advance directives and having THE conversation with those they love. And, give them a deadline!