Conversation cookiesFinding an appropriate icebreaker to start talking about end-of-life care can be tricky — for patients, their loved ones, and their health care team. Life and Death Matters, based in Victoria, BC, has developed a sweeter way to get those conversations started.

Conversation cookies look just like fortune cookies – but instead of predicting the future, they ask you to talk about it. The messages within the cookies address hopes and concerns about end-of-life in a fun and interactive way.  Some encourage reflection while others promote dialogue about living and dying well – for example, exploring fears around talking about dying, or what you might say if you could speak at your own funeral.

Kath Murray of Life and Death Matters notes that the cookies can be used in various situations. “They’re a great way to get people talking in a family conference setting, or as part of a public education session,” she says. “Even passing around a plate of Conversation Cookies at a conference can easily stimulate interesting conversations and self-reflection.” Suggestions for how to use the cookies are featured on the Life and Death Matters website.

This Canadian invention has been well received by hospice and palliative care team leaders across the country and in the U.S. A hospital in Nebraska, for example, is distributing them to their staff and encouraging them to put answers on a display in their main lobby, as a way to promote advance care planning.

To learn more about Conversation Cookies and to order some for your next meeting, conference or event, visit their website.