Conversation of Your Life

The Conversation of Your Life (COYL) is a program of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the New Jersey League of Municipalities. COYL began in 2014.  Conversation of Your Life focuses on engaging communities in fruitful dialogue — the Conversation of Your Life — to let individuals’ family, friends, and health care providers understand and respect their end-of-life wishes through advance care planning.

There are several resources available to help people learn about this important program. To learn about the COYL initiative, visit here:

To see the recent webinar " Having the Conversation Planning Ahead for the Unexpected," click here: Webinar link

What is advance care planning and why is it important?
Advance care planning consists of sharing your preferences for end-of-life care with loved ones and doctors and putting them in writing so that in case you are unable to speak for yourself, the health care treatment you receive is consistent with what you want. More than anything, advance care planning is a gift of clarity for both you and your family. Indicating your preferences for end-of-life care well ahead of time saves your loved ones from having to make emotionally taxing decisions on your behalf; instead, they can have clarity in their actions and focus on spending time with you.

 Advance care planning can be daunting – not only because it is difficult for many of us to think about aging and death, but also because there are a lot of terms and forms that can complicate the process. Most people have a will but do not make legal preparations beyond that. Legal documents and options include:

  • Advance Directives
  • Living Will (Instruction Directive)
  • Power of Attorney (Proxy Directive)
  • Five Wishes
  • Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

 Details, definitions, and suggestions regarding these are available in this printable brochure: COYL Brochure

 An easy-to-follow guide to choosing a health care proxy is available here: Health Care Proxy Guide

 For a guide on how to start the conversation with your family and friends, click here: Conversation Starter Kit

 Useful Resources
The following sources offer helpful advice and instructions on this topic. For a comprehensive list of resurces, go to Resources

Good Books to Read
"Being Mortal," by Atul Gawande
"Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" by Roz Chast
"Final Exam," by Pauline Chen
"The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care," by Angelo E. Volandes
"The Best Care Possible," by Ira Byock
"When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi

 Good Films to Watch
Being Mortal: PBS Frontline Documentary
Consider the Conversation
Life as a House
The Bucket List
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly