BEING MORTAL PROJECT OF SACRAMENTO VALLEY
COMMUNITY COLLOBORATIVE CONVERSATION (CCC) THE NON-PROFIT WAY
STEPS FOR SETTING UP A SUCCESSFUL BEING MORTAL EVENT
- Generate enthusiasm for the Being Mortal Project
- Find a venue
- Enlist your Community Partners
- Marketing Fliers & Postcards
- Engage your Discussion Facilitators
- Educate your Discussion Facilitators
- Event Organization Tools
- Venue Site Visit
- Event Day Set-Up
- Thank You
We have gathered testimonials from our community partners to help assist you with generating enthusiasm for the Being Mortal Project in your locale:
University Retirement Community – Amber Stevenson, DON
Woodland Senior Center – Dallas Tringali
Dignity Health – Dr. Jeffrey Yee
Dignity Health – Joanne Hatchett, NP
Sutter Health – Tamara Bahlhorn, LCSW
St. John’s Village – Jessica Hoefling
Listen Ink – Alison Kent – Graphic Recorder
V.I.P. Studios Photography – Ara Arbabzadeh
2. Generate enthusiasm for the Being Mortal Project
Use the following tools/e-mail to generate enthusiasm for the Being Mortal Project:
3. Find a Venue
Senior Centers, Churches and the RCFEs within your locale are extremely open to hosting a Being Mortal Presentation. Senior Centers support this project because it serves their seniors on a crucial conversation that they need to have.
Churches support this project because they are specifically tuned to the needs of their aging congregation and appreciate support for end-of-life conversations.
RCFEs support the Being Mortal Project in three ways:
- Community Partner for food sponsors for events landed at other locations. Your discussion facilitators are their referral source. They appreciate the opportunity to be of service to them.
- RCFEs love for their residents and families to receive the conversation
- RCFEs utilize this presentation to drive traffic to their community when we return with an event for the general public.
NOTE ON FACILITIES: Be clear about the level of care of the residents receiving the conversation. It’s challenging for Mild Cognitive Impairment, Dementia & ALZ. However, their family members need it and show up for it.
4. Enlist Your Community Partners
Community Partners bring additional resources to the table, to assist our participants in continuing the conversation after the event. Each venue is a community partner, as is our RCFE food sponsors. Health systems that provide additional resources in their efforts to continue the conversation and provide discussion facilitators are also community partners. Other non-medical professionals with a passion for easing suffering at end-of-life have joined us at our table. Here is a list of our Community Partners at our largest event to date at the Davis Community Church:
VENUE – Davis Community Church
FOOD SPONSOR – Carlton Plaza – RCFE
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION – Dignity Health, Sutter Health
EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER – VIP Photography
CAPTURING THE CONVERSATION GRAPHICALLY – Listen Ink
VOLUNTEERS: Alpha Phi Omega, Iota Phi – University of California, Davis
Community partners are announced and thanked in the opening remarks of each event. Their logo also appears on the words video file. See this Davis Community Church example.
Get creative with your community partners. They will approach you for the work you are doing; if they have a passion and strength for the conversation, utilize it. Our audience loves that the conversation is being captured graphically by Listen Ink. At Davis Community Church, they really appreciated the young energy of our volunteers from Alpha Phi Omega, Iota Phi.
5. Marketing Plan and Postcards
Once your venue and community partners are committed, it’s time to create postcards and flyers for your event. Follows are some of our samples:
6. Engage Your Discussion Facilitators
Presentations have been done in different formats, including a panel discussion with medical professionals and clinicians, with a Q & A from the participants. We have chosen the format of viewing the DVD, followed immediately by small group discussion with a facilitator.
This format has proven to be the most successful for us. Since momentum picked up after our first event on June 10th we have gone to minimal advertising. The power of word of mouth kicked in for our area. Our participants appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to have this discussion with the medical professionals and clinicians of our county. We believe that the engagement of our medical professionals and clinicians is what our participants love most about our Being Mortal events.
Engage your discussion facilitators! Your discussion facilitators are the medical professionals and clinicians of your county. They have been working with you for years to ease suffering at end-of-life via educational seminars on advance care planning, POLST, and Palliative Care. Present the Being Mortal Project to your palliative care specialists in your health systems. They have been the most passionate about the project and have not left our side since our first event. It took 28 discussion facilitators to deliver the conversation to 175 participants at Davis Community Church. 10 of those discussion facilitators were our own clinical team at Yolo Hospice. Others included medical professionals from Dignity Health and Sutter Health, LCSWs with the VA, retired LCSW, End of Life Doulas, Directors of Resident Care of RCFEs, Spiritual Directors of our local churches, and RN friends of our Yolo Hospice RNs. We like the strategy of getting a discussion facilitator committed to an event, and then asking them, “do you have any RN or clinical professional friends? Would they be interested?” We got an additional five discussion facilitators with this strategy for Davis Community Church.
PLEASE NOTE ON SNFs—We have reached out to the medical professionals of the SNFs within our locale. They are very excited about the project and several have signed up to participate as discussion facilitators. However, their work is so immediately urgent, that it rules as a priority the day of the event. Even if you do get a Director of Nursing signed up as a discussion facilitator, always have a back-up discussion facilitator in place. Just like w.e need to release our hospice team to do their much needed work of hospice, SNF medical professionals and clinicians need to do their urgent work for our most vulnerable population.
7. Educate Your Discussion Facilitators
Once your discussion facilitators are committed, explain to them that you simply want them to hold the conversation after the DVD. This is a very emotional DVD and our participants arrive at the conversation open and willing to speak. We ask our discussion facilitators to pay attention to the strong personalities and ensure that the quiet participants have an opportunity to share.
Discussion Facilitator Tools
Once a discussion facilitator has committed to the conversation, we simply send them the following e-mail with these PDF attachments:
8. Event Organization
The following checklists keep us flowing and on track:
9. Venue Site Visit
If the venue is new to us, we always do a site visit with our community partners. We take pictures of the site, where the DVD will be shown, where the discussion will happen. If we are utilizing the Audio & Visual equipment at the site, we run a test with the DVD. Capacity is our first question as it determines the rest of the flow of the event. We have had events for audiences as small as 30 up to 200. Depending on the capacity of the event, we also invite our food sponsor to join us for this site visit, as they need to determine where they are going to land the food for 200 participants.
10. Event Day Set-Up
Being Mortal – Davis Community Church – RSVPs for 200 – Friday, Oct 28th – 3 – 5 pm
Setting up for an audience of 200, we arrive two hours before. We relied heavily on our volunteers from Alpha Phi Omega, Iota Phi – University of California, Davis for set-up help. Ten of them showed their support for the project by showing up at 1 pm with us and setting up. We sat five of them down to receive the conversation. Another 10 showed up at 4:30 pm to break down the event.
For this event and various table sizes, it took 28 discussion facilitators to carry the conversation. We needed to have an ease of flow for the 175 participants showing up to receive the conversation. Four of our volunteers manned the check-in booth for our participants. For an event this size, we have learned from experience that it is best to create four check-in points. Our discussion facilitators checked in at a different table, were given instructions about the photo shoot at 2:45 pm and then escorted by our volunteers to where they would be facilitating the conversation.
The most common layout of tables that has been used for our events are round tables seating 8. For our Davis Community Church event, we had 120 of our participants receive the conversation in the Fellowship Hall with round tables seating 8. However, other participants received the conversation in the Gallery Room, Fireside Room and Library, where square tables seating 6 were utilized.
Resource tables with tools for continuing the conversation were stationed in each room. Our food sponsor, Carlton Plaza, also landed refreshments in each room.
11. Thank You
Send photos after the event to all discussion facilitators and community partners with an expression of gratitude for their continued efforts in easing suffering at end-of-life. We always highlight the fact that together we can ease so much more. Let them know that you will be calling on them again for the next Being Mortal Presentation.