Funding Opportunities | Later Years
Many people find that talking about their upcoming or eventual death, or the death of a loved can be to be emotionally charged and difficult. Sadness, anger, and fear are all real emotions that can emerge during conversations about end of life, and the anticipation of those feelings can understandably get in the way of exploring options in medical and palliative care and making important decisions.
Not surprisingly many people put off “having the conversation” as long as possible, and in some cases that delay means that care options are not discussed and family members are left in the dark about the wishes of their loved ones. This can have real and serious impacts on people, families, and the health care system.
At the same time, while having conversations about end of life can be difficult, the result is often clarity in terms of knowing the desires of loved ones, relief in terms of being able to share fears and concerns, and feelings of love and closeness that often grow from what is ultimately a real heart to heart conversation.
Beyond that many spiritual traditions encourage the practice of contemplating death as a way of enhancing life. While end of life conversations are not a substitute for engaged spiritual practice, we believe they can serve a similar purpose and in many cases are the beginning of important life journeys.
Supporting “the conversation” is at the core of our funding strategy to improve end of life outcomes in Santa Barbara. Over the past decade, much of our funding has been directed through the Alliance for Living and Dying Well, which is still an important end of life collaboration. Increasingly, we are looking to support strategies that change the way the health care system supports these conversations, and integrates those strategies into the standard practice of care. We have funded Cottage Health which has also made tremendous strides in this arena. For a PDF of an advanced care planning document developed by Cottage Health in consultation with many other local healthcare providers other partners, and more detailed information about advanced care planning, go to their My Care Webpage. In addition, Cottage Health is working with Hospice of Santa Barbara to improve advanced care planning in the community and has jointly formed and supported Mi Vida Mi Voz for this purpose (MVMV is currently focusing on COVID 19 information to the Latino community). Finally, we are supporting the new palliative care program at Sansum Clinic/Ridley Tree Cancer Center, that is making ACP a central element to their program.