Massachusetts coalition launches advance care planning app
The Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care today unveiled #WriteYourScript, a digital quiz designed to be an icebreaker for talking about our wishes and parameters for care at the end of life or when facing a serious illness. The initiative's release coincides with the 10th anniversary of National Healthcare Decisions Day.
The #WriteYourScript experience closes that gap by taking users through a “script-writing” journey, which serves as a metaphor for making decisions about care. The engaging, positive approach is intended to make the process accessible, as almost half of Massachusetts residents have never discussed their wishes for serious illness care with a loved one. And, only 15 percent have had conversations with their doctors. Additionally, while 80 percent of people nationally would prefer to die at home, only 20 percent do—a result of not communicating preferences. With #WriteYourScript, the Coalition is working to shift from the current status quo into more active conversation. The application also provides users with actionable advice and resources including how to complete an advance directive.
“People usually don't recognize the value of advance care planning until it’s too late—until a loved one with a serious illness is no longer able to speak for themselves about their wishes for their care,” said Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, co-chair of the Coalition, executive director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and author of the New York Times bestseller, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.
“When care is not aligned with our priorities for the quality of our life, the result is suffering," he adds. "This campaign encourages people at all stages of life to think about what matters most to them now so that any future treatment aligns with their values and wishes. We hope that awareness will get people talking and inspire them to complete advance directives. The goal is not a good death; the goal is a good life all the way until the end.”
To take part in #WriteYourScript, visit www.maseriouscare.org/writeyourscript.