Every voice mattered at the Coalition meeting held on November 19 in Boston. More than 70 members gathered for the session, representing a broad cross-section of organizations. The primary focus of the meeting was a recently launched Coalition project aimed at developing a unifying set of messages that can be used to motivate patients and families to engage in meaningful conversations about care preferences, values, and goals.
To help achieve this, the Coalition has hired the communications agency Flowetik to work on the nine-month project. Flowetik Founder and CEO Zamawa Arenas spoke about the core principles of social norms marketing, citing an example of a successful anti-smoking campaign conducted earlier in Massachusetts. She also shared with the group results of preliminary focus group research that provided initial insights on consumers' attitudes and behaviors around advance care planning and care for serious illness. Of particular interest are characteristics that make people more likely to have planning conversations that transcended demographics, such as the experience of losing a loved one or having young children of their own. In the coming months, Flowetik will use this and other in-depth research to inform recommendations on messaging.
Coalition members contributed their unique perspectives and expertise to this effort at a breakout session held during the meeting. In small groups, members talked about which advance care planning communication strategies work for their audiences and the types of challenges they face. Common themes shared with the group included a widespread aversion to use of jargon among their audiences and an emphasis on keeping conversations personal, hopeful, and positive.
Leaders also gave progress reports on other important Coalition initiatives, including development of curricula regarding serious illness communications at Massachusetts medical and nursing schools, efforts to improve e-sharing of advance directives, and the creation of individual member profile pages on the Coalition's website.