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Helping People Talk about Their End-of-Life Care Wishes

A public engagement campaign advocating “kitchen table” conversations with family and friends about wishes for end-of-life care

The Conversation Project, co-founded by Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Goodman in 2012, is a public engagement initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement 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, so The Conversation Project offers people the tools, guidance and resources they need to begin talking with their loved ones, around the kitchen table, about their wishes and preferences.
The Conversation Project does not about promote any specific preference for end-of-life care; instead, it seeks to encourage and support people in expressing their end-of-life wishes for care.
By sparking cultural change at the kitchen table — not in the intensive care unit — The Conversation Project hopes it will become easier for people to communicate end-of-life wishes that can be expressed in advance and respected at the end.

Have You Had the Conversation?

Learn more at The Conversation Project website:


Resources available include:

  • Conversation Starter Kit (available in multiple languages)
  • How to Talk to Your Doctor
  • Who Will Speak For You? How to Choose and Be a Health Care Proxy
  • Conversation Starter Kit for Loved Ones of People with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Pediatric Starter Kit: Having the Conversation with Your Seriously Ill Child
  • Videos, free resources, and ways to get involved in your community