Conversation of Your Life
Conversation of Your Life (COYL) is an initiative of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute’s Mayors Wellness Campaign. COYL focuses on engaging communities in fruitful dialogue – the Conversation of Your Life – to let individuals’ family, friends, or doctors understand and respect their end-of-life wishes through advance care planning. Conversation of Your Life is generously supported by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Our program video is here.
We know that the public is comfortable with aging and discussing end of life, however very few New Jersey adults are making plans, and many are not aware of important end-of-life care options or advance care planning documents.
After successfully piloting COYL in Tenafly, Princeton, and Gloucester Township in 2015, the Mayors Wellness Campaign expanded COYL into Camden, Mercer, and Bergen Counties in 2016, and expanded the program again into Burlington, Gloucester, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties in 2017. COYL’s goal is to develop and promote a community conversation around advance care planning. We conduct programming in ‘community living rooms,’ such as libraries and houses of worship. It is our goal to start this conversation in settings where community members feel comfortable. Programming includes film screenings, book talks, game nights, panel discussions, and more. Each local program is supported by multiple local partners who share the goal of encouraging this important conversation.
Task Force Roles
Each COYL county has a county-wide task force to support local programming. Each task force convenes in person quarterly to review and plan local programs. COYL task force roles we are currently seeking:
Influencers: Individuals in this role have relationships in their community or employer that they can tap into to support the program, to recruit other task force members, or to promote attendance and engagement throughout the community.
Communication Leads: Individuals in this role help publicize COYL programs through local newspaper ads, social media, town websites, etc. These individuals spread the news of COYL events far and wide to guarantee strong event attendance.
Communication Supports: These individuals help spread the word of COYL events through their social circle, in their religious congregation, and through their professional networks. These individuals remain in close communication with the Communication Leads to support their efforts by spreading information about events at the ground level.
Discussion Leads: Individuals in this role are professional experts on the topics of end-of-life care and advance care planning. They are comfortable leading community discussions on this topic at movie screenings, book talks, and on panels. These individuals may be nurses, social workers, physicians, hospital or hospice employees, members of the clergy, attorneys, etc. These individuals may also be comfortable as Event Volunteers.
Event Volunteers: Individuals in this role are qualified to answer questions on end-of-life care and advance care planning. It is our goal to have one qualified volunteer at every COYL event to answer questions in private, as needed. These individuals may also be comfortable as Discussion Leads.
Clergy Coordinator: Individuals in this role help identify local members of the clergy to engage in COYL, and work with them to create COYL programs in faith-based settings.
Health Care Professional/Institutional Coordinator: Individuals in this role help identify health care settings including hospitals, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, etc. in which it is appropriate to coordinate grand rounds and/or educational programming on COYL.
Community Coordinator: Individuals in this role help identify community centers such as libraries, senior resource centers, senior housing complexes, etc. in which it is appropriate to hold COYL programming.