VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Veterans Discuss What Matters Most
According to a national survey by the Conversation Project, 90 percent of people say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life (EOL) care is important but only 27 percent have actually done so.
In celebration of Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, VA Palo Alto Health Care System launches its newest initiative, The Letter Project: What Matters Most, with a thoughtful short documentary about why the end-of-life conversation is important (shown above).
Led by the Associate Director of Palliative Care, Dr. VJ Periyakoil, the project was created to help start the conversation with simple questions that prompt, “what matters most” to the Veteran.
Periyakoil conducted a study from 2010 to 2012 with more than a thousand doctors, asking them to report the barriers to conducing EOL conversations. She found that communication issues between doctors and their patients was the most common barrier reported.
With the Letter Project, anyone can answer the simple questions about what matters most to them when it comes to their healthcare, giving them the opportunity to identify what they should discuss with their family and their doctor.
Once the letter is discussed and completed, Veterans can sign and give it to their doctor, who will place it in their electronic medical record for future reference.
Watch the documentary and learn more on the Letter Project website.