About Conversations for Life™

What people are saying about Conversations for Life™

We know that many parts of our society have not yet hurdled the cultural barriers to talking about death and dying. This project is another – very welcome and innovative – leap in that process.

Claire Henry

National Director, National End of Life Care Programme

NHS Cumbria has worked closely with Mary Matthiesen and Conversations for Life to develop a successful pilot programme in Cumbria which has been a catalyst for community awareness and education relating to end of life care and support for dying well. I am delighted that Mary is expanding this work to roll out the programme in other areas. I wish her every success.

Professor John R. Ashton

CBE Director of Public Health and County Medical Officer

Mary has assisted in our teaching programme for medical students in palliative medicine, specifically in enabling them to confront the meaning of a good death for themselves. To do this she has built on considerable professional experience of end-of-life conversations with healthcare professionals and the public.

Helen Clayson

Medical Director, Hospice of St. Mary’s of Furness

I thought you’d be interested in some feedback re: the workshop I did at our conference on ‘Conversations for Life’. Brilliant, informative, thought provoking, stimulating, beautiful… One delegate looks forward to seeing the use of this tool with patients. Of all the workshops at the conference, it has to be said that the Conversations for Life scored the HIGHEST.

Dawn Tierney

Cumbria Project Steeering Group Member, Chaplain, Eden Valley Hospice

Conversations for Life™  has been developed over a decade in two countries (US and UK).

The Conversations for Life™ programmes and services provide a first step to catalyse a shift in the conversation from ‘end of life’ (later) to preparing for our future care (now). We have delivered this via an integrated public health and community-wide (public, staff, community organizations) engagement process based on our four-part change model.

In addition to consulting with systems, we continue to make the evidence-based tools and approach available directly to staff educators, individuals and family members via products & online workshops.

History in Brief

Conversations for Life™ 4 part Model
4-part change model

Our programme led and pilot-tested the first community-wide public health initiative in the UK in collaboration with NHS Cumbria.

  • Our 3-hour public workshop has been delivered to hundreds of members of the public.
  • More than 7000 professionals (GP’s, Acute Trust, Care Home, Community Nursing staff) have attended training in our approach and tools to use with patients and families.
  • Our programme has received a national endorsement by the Department of Health, End of Life Care programme (UK).
  • Building on this success, we were commissioned to design and deliver an integrated BAME initiative in collaboration with the MLSCCN, Through Our Eyes, which launched a new commissioning strategy and greater community awareness.
  • Our facilitated approach to engage and launch awareness initiatives in 8 communities in end of life conversations and care was published in the BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care Journal »

Due to continued interest in our approach and materials, we are now delivering online facilitated workshops and consulting with forward thinking health and social care leaders to engage their staff, systems and communities in this effort.

Contact us »

View our series of downloads for more comprehensive background information on Conversations for Life™

Conversations for Life™: Implementation of a pilot public awareness campaign about end of life issues

Simple Tools to Start Advance Care Conversations

Engaging Communities around death, dying and bereavement

A Public Health Approach to Community Engagement

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