Last week, I convened our monthly State Liaisons call. We had a long discussion about what works best for NHDD activities. The group agreed that stories are among the most powerful tools to spur people to engage in advance care planning. Stories can take all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be happy, sad, frustrating, and rewarding. No matter what, telling stories is likely to engage people and help them understand the benefits of advance care planning.
People repeatedly ask me how and why I founded NHDD. Of course, I respond with my story. My story is that I’m lucky. I haven’t really had to deal with a complex healthcare decision-making situation in my immediate family, although we’ve been sharing our wishes for decades. Yet, in serving on several hospital ethics committees, I’ve repeatedly seen the agony that comes as families try to make decision on behalf a loved one who never talked about his/her wishes (and, in most cases, was never asked). I’ve been humbled, however, by countless stories from NHDD participants about how helpful NHDD has been to prevent some of those situations from happening. Thus, stories lead to more stories.
All of us have some story to tell about advance care planning. Don’t be shy. Making the topic personal makes it real. Whether your NHDD event involves a crowd or an intimate group, please consider telling your own story (or even someone else’s). You’ll be amazed how effective it is. And, then, when you’ve got an NHDD success story to tell, share it with us and we can amplify it with this blog!