Cambia Health Foundation Starts “The Conversation” in Utah

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The Utah Conversation Project website is now available with the tools, guidance and resources that people facing a serious, long-term illness need to begin talking with their loved ones about their preferences, before a medical crisis arises.

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Palliative care shines a focus on the way seriously ill patients want to fully live the rest of their lives.

What if there were a 24/7, one-stop resource at your fingertips, to help you and family members start one of the most important conversations of your lives?

Now there is: The Utah Conversation Project website is available with the tools, guidance and resources that people facing a serious, long-term illness need to begin talking with their loved ones about their preferences, before a medical crisis arises.

Theconversationprojectutah.org is part of a new public engagement campaign Cambia Health Foundation and community partners launched for The Conversation Project (TCP) designed specifically for Utahns.

“It is not about promoting any specific approach to end-of-life care,” explains Jennifer Danielson, Cambia Health Foundation’s board member representing Utah. “Instead, it seeks to encourage and support people in expressing their values and wishes for care, and educating them about steps they can take to have those wishes honored.”

The new, local website explains the TCP-Utah mission, and provides a local resources page with links to free, Utah-specific information for advanced care planning. The site also links to The Conversation Project’s virtual Community Resource Center, which offers unlimited access to free, national materials and resources.

Cambia Health Foundation is making both TCP-Utah and the TCP Community Resource Center available to help individuals and families throughout Utah – and the country – express their wishes, values and goals regarding their care.

The Utah Conversation Project effort and website were developed in collaboration with a steering committee comprised of diverse local leaders:

  •     Dr. Anna Beck, Director of Supportive Oncology & Survivorship, Huntsman Cancer Institute
  •     Brook Carlisle, Director of Government Relations, American Cancer Society
  •     Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Legislator, Utah House of Representatives
  •     Jennifer Danielson, President, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah
  •     Holli Martinez, APRN, Director, University of Utah Palliative Care Program
  •     Michelle McOmber, CEO, Utah Medical Association
  •     Anne Palmer, Executive Director, Utah Commission on Aging
  •     Deepthi Rajeev, Medical Informaticist, HealthInsight
  •     Rev. Susan J. Roberts, M.Div., Hospital Chaplain, University of Utah Hospital
  •     Dr. Joan Sheetz, Medical Director, Rainbow Kids Pediatric Palliative Care Program, Primary Children’s Hospital
  •     Katherine Supiano, Director, Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program, University of Utah
  •     Scott Trotter, Community/Interfaith Relations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Why encourage this conversation?

  •     Approximately 90 million Americans have a serious long-term illness, and this number is expected to more than double in the next 25 years.
  •     Ninety percent of Americans think it’s important to have the conversation about their wishes for end-of-life care, yet only 30 percent of them have actually had these conversations.
  •     Finally, in our current health care system, patients are not being referred often enough or quickly enough to palliative care resources that could have a dramatic effect on their quality of life.

“Palliative care is not necessarily about end-of-life; it is about providing a seriously-ill patient and family members an extra layer of support that reduces pain and stress,” explains Holli Martinez, APRN, director of University of Utah Palliative Care Program and TCP-Utah steering committee member. “In delivering quality palliative care, equally important to asking the patient, “What’s the matter with you,” is asking “What matters to you? Palliative care shines a focus on the way seriously ill patients want to fully live the rest of their lives.”

The Conversation Project currently shares its resources and messaging with a broad array of stakeholders, including civic and volunteer organizations, health care systems, senior centers, libraries, houses of worship and employers across the country. Hundreds of organizations and communities are actively engaged in the work of The Conversation Project, participating in monthly conference calls, hosting events, workshops and seminars in their towns and neighborhoods.

To learn more about the local resources available to you and your family, visit
theconversationprojectutah.org. To learn more about Cambia Health Foundation’s investments in advancing quality, access and awareness of palliative care, visit cambiahealthfoundation.org.

About Cambia Health Foundation
Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience the health care system. A 501(c)(3) grant-making organization, the Foundation invests and partners with organizations to advance palliative care quality, access and understanding; improve the behavioral health of underserved children; and transform health care to a more person-focused and economically sustainable system. Learn more at cambiahealthfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter.

About The Conversation Project
The Conversation Project, co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ellen Goodman and launched in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), is a public engagement campaign with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected. Too many people die in a manner they would not choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain. The Conversation Project offers people the tools, guidance, and resources they need to begin talking with their loved ones about their wishes and preferences, before a medical crisis – “at the kitchen table,” not in the intensive care unit. For more information, visit theconversationproject.org

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Lisa Honebrink
Cambia Health Solutions
+1 503-721-4094
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