Design Challenge: Catalyzing Communication About End-of-Life Care


In a 2012 study of Californians’ attitudes and experiences with death and dying, 60% of respondents said that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions about their care at the end of life is “extremely important.” Yet 56% had not communicated their end-of-life wishes to the loved one they would want making decisions on their behalf, and only 23% said they had their wishes in writing.

Many tools have been designed to guide people through having the conversation about their wishes and completing relevant forms, yet few people act on these opportunities.

To motivate action, CHCF partnered with Mad*Pow, a user-centered design studio, to present a design challenge aimed at getting more people to complete advance directives early, revisit them periodically, and for people with serious illnesses, to document their end-of-life wishes.

  • ADVANCE CARE PLANNING ON FACEBOOK. A Facebook application that allows people to complete an advance directive; invite family and friends to access it and become health care proxies; and create an advance care planning network to encourage others to complete their own advance directive. View entry. (PDF).

The photos above present the winning and other notable entries out of the dozens of submissions. A panel of judges evaluated each submission based on originality, how well it addresses the problem, consideration of audience needs, and overall quality.

The winning entries were:

  • First place ($5,000): Michael Kersten, master’s candidate in health policy and management at UC Berkeley, for “Advance Care Planning on Facebook: Reaching the Non-activated”
  • Honorable mention ($2,500): The Action Mill team, which includes Nick Jehlen, Rob Peagler, Georgia Guthrie, Jethro Heiko, and Dr. Karl Ahlswede, for A Gift of Grace
  • Honorable mention ($2,500): Joanna Hart and Dr. John Hansen-Flaschen with the Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science Program, University of Pennsylvania, for “The View from the Bed”

For more information on the challenge, and to see all the submissions, visit the Mad*Pow website through the External Link below.