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Saturday, November 18, 2017
HomeHealthCritical Conversation: Advanced Care Planning and End of Life Care

Critical Conversation: Advanced Care Planning and End of Life Care

Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney

On Sunday night, Andy Rooney gave his last commentary on “60 Minutes” after being interviewed by Morley Safer about his career. Safer had the courage to ask Rooney about if he thought about death, given his age of 92. Here is the conversation:

Safer: It’s not much fun growing old, is it?

Rooney: I hate it. I mean, I’m gonna die. And–it’d– that doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Safer: Do you think about death?

Rooney: Oh, I do. I do think about it quite a bit.

Safer: And?

Rooney: I don’t like it.


What I’d like to ask Rooney is whether he’s filled out an advance directive and talked with those close to him about his preferences around end-of-life care and choices. I’ll bet he has. He’s a smart man.

Unfortunately, too many of us fail to have these conversations because it’s not something Americans like to talk about. But personal and public conversations about the care we prefer when we’re diagnosed with a terminal or advanced illness are crucial to ensuring that we have access to the care that will support as much as possible how we want to live our lives, including our last days. Without the public conversations, we can’t develop the public and private policies to support such choices in end-of-life care.

On Friday, from 9:00 to 11:30, the American Academy of Nursing is sponsoring a webcast from the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, DC, on “Critical Conversation: Advanced Care Planning and Decision-making–Models that Work.” I’ve had the pleasure of helping to plan this event and hope that you will join us via this link (it will go active at 8:50 AM):

(Mac users will need to download and install Flip4Mac which can be found online for free at:

I hope you’ll join in on this critical conversation. Maybe Andy Rooney will call in.

Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Rudin Professor of Nursing and Co-Director, CHMP

Written by

<p>Diana is a co-director of the GW Nursing Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement and founder of HealthCetera. She was previously president of the American Academy of Nursing. She is senior policy professor at George Washington University and the Rudin Professor of Nursing at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing. She is a health policy expert and leader. Diana tweets @djmasonrn.</p>

Latest comment

  • This post is very timely for a project that I am involved with here in New Jersey. We are in the process of training over 40 nurses from Atlantic Health System [Morristown, Overlook and Newton Medical Centers] to facilitate community conversations about advance care planning using our award winning 22 minute video Anna’s Story. The story was written by Jeanne Kerwin, D.M.H, our coordinator of bioethics and palliative care and the video was funded by Horizon Blue Cross. It chronicles the story of Anna, and elderly woman who has an acute medical incident which brings her to the ED. She gets on the ” train of critical care” and can’t get off in spite of the care not comporting with her own end of life wishes. She never had that important conversation, and thus her granddaughter is fiercely holding on to her and demanding very aggressive but futile measures.

    Our nurses, Anna’s Angels, will be identifying venues in their communities [i.e. their health clubs, churches, knitting groups, book clubs, senior centers] to show the film and have a collective conversation bringing educational materials including various samples of advance directives.The nurses have received CE units to be trained, and their work will be counted as part of their professional development and community service. The focus of our conversation will be to put control into the hands and voices of our community participants as they enter the health care decision making process. We are both proud and inspired that our nurses will play an integral role in this process fueled by their bedside experience and clinical expertise.

    We are just completing the training phase of our project and anticipate our nurses will begin reaching out in their communities shortly. We look forward to reporting about our success and challenges, as well as reporting on the data we collect to measure the impact of the project on the affective, cognitive and behavioral changes of our participating community members.

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