The Conversation Project

The Conversation Project helps guide patients about having discussions with family members and physicians about end-of-life care.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has partnered with the Conversation Project to provide resources that help our members encourage and facilitate the most difficult conversations about end-of-life care. The Conversation Project starter kit(2 MB PDF) guides patients with questions, examples, and tips about how to approach end-of-life decisions and discussions.

  • Encourage your patients to begin the conversation. Most patients (90%) recognize that it is important to talk with loved ones about their end-of-life care, but fewer (27%) have actually done so.1 Sharing wishes and preferences for end-of-life care can bring your patient closer to loved ones.
  • Facilitate discussions among patients, their families, and the health care team. Family physicians are ideally suited to help patients discuss wishes and preferences for their end-of-life care with family and other members of the health care team. Focus the discussions on what matters most to the patient as they make end-of-life decisions.
  • Encourage your patients to write down their wishes and preferences. Most patients (82%) say it’s important to write down their end-of-life wishes, but fewer (23%) have actually done so.2 Share the Conversation Project’s starter kit(2 MB PDF) with your patients and encourage them to read and answer the questions. Completing the starter kit makes it easier to have discussions with family and health care team members, and make decisions about end-of-life care.

Conversation Project Starter Kit

Access the starter kit and share it with your patients.

AAFP Resources

Ethics and Advance Planning for End-of-Life Care (AAFP policy)

Palliative and End-of-Life Care(10 page PDF) (Residency curriculum guidelines)

End-of-Life Care (American Family Physician articles)

Discussing End-of-Life Care With Your Patients (Family Practice Management)

End-of-Life Issues(

About the Conversation Project

The Conversation Project( began in 2010 by a group of media, clergy, and medical professionals dedicated to helping people discuss their wishes for end-of-life care. The project, in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, provides guidance to patients about having conversations with their loved ones and physicians about end-of-life decisions.



  1. The Conversation Project. New survey reveals ‘conversation disconnect’: 90 percent of Americans know they should have a conversation about what they want at the end of life, yet only 30 percent have done so. Accessed November 9, 2016.
  2. California Healthcare Foundation. Final chapter: Californians’ attitudes and experiences with death and dying. Accessed November 9, 2016.

Conversation Project Starter Kit

Access the starter kit and share it with your patients.