Staying Stronger Together in a Pandemic

Compassion & Choices participated in a series of movement-focused webinars and created the COVID-19 Toolkit to address new needs during these troubling times.

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), April 16 every year, is an annual opportunity for people across the United States to consider end-of-life planning with their families. This year, NHDD took on a new meaning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With in-person events canceled nationwide and people practicing new ways of staying connected, Compassion & Choices introduced a series of webinars called Staying Stronger Together

On Monday, April 13, Compassion & Choices President and CEO Kim Callinan facilitated a town hall discussion with national leaders in healthcare. The next day, we provided a webinar on becoming a virtual advocate that included information on social media channels and other ways to stay involved in the end-of-life options movement. On National Healthcare Decisions Day, 

April 16, Compassion & Choices National Medical Director Dr. David Grube presented an hour-long overview of advance care planning. He went over our highly popular End of Life Decisions Guide and Toolkit (available in English and Spanish), a roadmap for end-of-life planning that provides fillable worksheets and critical information to consider. 

The next week,  President and CEO Kim Callinan participated in a webinar hosted by the Raben Group that featured radio personality and author Diane Rehm. The Raben Group's Elliot Williams moderated a discussion with Diane and Kim about Diane's new book, When My Time Comes, and the end-of-life options movement. 

On April 21, Compassion & Choices presented a webinar, Living and Dying with Dementia, hosted by the American Society on Aging. More than 500 participants joined C&C President & CEO Kim Callinan, Chairman and Co-founder of USAgainstAlzheimer's George Vradenburg and Storyteller and Advocate Dan Winter as the panel addressed national efforts to combat dementia and Alzheimer's and detailed proper planning and online resources one can access to remain in control during the early stages of a dementia diagnosis.

We were pleased with the outcome of using this new format for reaching people, and we have more webinars planned for May with exciting guests and interesting topics. Watch our website for updates on upcoming webinars or view previous webinars

Compassion & Choices also introduced the COVID-19 Toolkit, a collection of resources to help people navigate care preferences and realize a peaceful end-of-life experience given existing laws. Dr. Charlotte Charfen of Kapa'au, Hawaii, said, "This is one of the best toolkits I've seen; it is easy to use and gives actionable items for those seeking information on COVID-19 and end-of-life planning. I've added it to my website resources and shared it with my patients."

The toolkit covers a wide range of topics related to COVID-19. In “Understanding Your Options,” you’ll find basic information about the disease and the types of care it can necessitate, like intubation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. “Using Telehealth to Reduce Your Risk” explains the importance of telehealth — remote healthcare — during the pandemic and how to utilize it. A traditional advance directive does not go into the specificity needed with a COVID-19 diagnosis, so in “Advance Care Planning,” we encourage you to fill out a COVID-19 specific addendum to your advance directive. If you are living with a terminal diagnosis, “Dying in a Pandemic” provides information about avoiding the hospital and saying goodbye to loved ones. 

As important a mission now as ever. Compassion & Choices will continue to educate and empower individuals to make end-of-life decisions based on their values and priorities.