How Coffee Can Help With Advance Care Planning

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    By Tracy Grafton

    Tracy Grafton, a hospice and palliative care social worker at Hackensack Meridian Health at JFK Medical Center in central New Jersey, has always been passionate about end-of-life care. For almost a decade, she’s set up a table on National Health Care Decisions Day (April 16), in the hospital where her hospice is housed, to distribute information about advance directives.

    A couple of years ago, Tracy Grafton asked her boss, “Do I have your permission to start a program here, a drop-in, once a month, where people can come and do advance directives if they want?” Her boss said, “Go for it!”

    Coffee and Conversation

    That was the genesis of “Coffee and Conversation,” a drop-in session held the first Wednesday of every month from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Tracy sets up in a cafe in the hospital. She has materials spread out on the table (in Hindi, Chinese, and Spanish as well as English). A notary is available for people who need it. Sometimes people just want to browse the literature. Sometimes they want to talk. Tracy is always ready to answer their questions and engage in conversation.

    “Sometimes people come prepared with their documents already in hand. Sometimes people come and say, ‘What is this all about?’ We just meet people wherever they’re at.” Anyone who does fill out an advance directive gets a free beverage (donated by the cafe).

    As part of the inpatient and outpatient registration, patients are asked if they have an advance directive. “Before, the answer to the question was tallied but then nothing further,” says Tracy. “Now they get a card—what is an advance directive and why do I need one? You’re invited to Coffee and Conversation.” There are posters up around the hospital advertising it as well.

    Read more from The Conversation Project »



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