The three sisters came to Lakeland Regional Health for what they thought would be a lecture.
Being retired educators, they’ve heard a lot of those.
Instead, they gathered in small groups to play a game with card-sized booklets and chips, laughing as they answered some questions asked and looking pensive as they thought about others.
“It gets to your emotions and thoughts,” said Janie Rambert, 61.
“You hear what other people have to say and it makes you think.”
Programs about advance directives, living wills and the like can come across as a thou-should-do-this talk.
Some may convey the benefits of those documents, but fall short at helping you start conversations about your wishes for medical care and support from family or friends if you become ill or incapacitated.
Colinette McGriff, 65, said she’d been holding back on having an advance directive or living will.
“I put it off because it seemed negative in a sense,” she said.
“The older I get, I think, ‘I should have done it years ago because I don’t want it on my kids.’”
Fewer than 4 in 10 people in the United States, about 37 percent, complete any kind of directives, concluded an analysis published in the July 2017 issue of Health Affairs.
How to make the numbers increase is a major goal of the Rev. Eileen Stone, a chaplain at Lakeland Regional; others involved in palliative care; and Lauren Springfield, manager of its community health program.
They invited members of Harmony Missionary Baptist and New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist churches, along with community members, to the Hello Community Game Day held Sept. 29.
Middle sister Trudy Williams, 63, said she came hoping the program would “awaken me to my true feelings about how I actually feel.”
At the end, she and her siblings agreed, it helped achieve that.
“I’m going to discuss more with my husband and family about what I want to do and see how they feel about it,” Williams pledged.
They played “Hello,” a Common Practice conversation game. Participants write answers to questions and share their answers with others in their small groups.
Springfield and Stone called it “a game about living and dying and what matters most to each person.”
The teal-blue booklets in which they answered questions were for use with Project Talk, Conversations that Matter, a research program at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
The Hospice Foundation of America chose Lakeland Regional as one of 15 organizations to take part in research for a project the foundation is doing with Penn State Health.
People first wrote down any fears they may have had about playing the game and what they hoped to learn from it.
“I wanted to learn more about living wills and regular wills because we travel on the highway a lot,” Rambert said.
Then it was on to questions like what you would do if you knew you had three months to live, non-medical facts you would want a doctor to know about you; and who you would want to sing at your memorial service if you could choose anyone in the world.
Would you want your healthcare team to know your religious or spiritual beliefs?
Do you worry more about not getting enough care at the end of life or about getting too much?
What music do you want to be listening to on your last day alive?
Those were some of the questions in the booklets, which participants were able to take home.
There were no wrong answers. People could change their minds.
The chips given each person could be gifted to fellow participants for insightful, emotional and moving answers.
Not all questions got answered that day. The sisters, who taught in Polk County schools, said they plan to consider them further and talk about them with others.
Rambert, contacted Oct. 22, said she found her husband, Dwayne, more open to doing it than she was.
“You have to have someone there to keep you directed,” she said.
Springfield said she would like to help arrange other Hello game days at local religious institutions.
“People feel more comfortable coming to events at churches than they do at the hospital,” she said.
Complete Article ↪HERE↩!