What’s So Funny About Advance Care Planning?
The song “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding” by Nick Lowe has been a staple running through my head for years. A couple of years ago while working on a community project for National Health Care Decisions Day, the lyrics changed to “what’s so funny about advance care planning?” Like so many song lyrics, I couldn’t get it out of my head…it was clear, to me anyway, that we needed an improvisational comedy show to take a light-hearted look at Advance Care Planning.
As an Emergency Physician, I am frequently confronted with the side effects of our societies lack of discussion of end-of-life care. The lack of an Advance Care discussion and plan makes my job a lot tougher. More importantly, it makes it difficult for me to provide care that meets the wishes of those with advanced illness or who are dying. My heart breaks, as I break ribs doing what I know to be futile, painful, expensive care that only prolongs death. Many people have not thought about what makes life worth living and their end of life wishes. Fewer have shared their thoughts, and even fewer have written them down. Only about thirty percent of our population has their advanced care plan in writing. Billions of dollars are spent on hospital care in the last months of life, care that does not improve quality or quantity of life.
What could I do?
I contacted Stevie Ray at Stevie Ray’s Improv Company…you know, a doctor and a comedian meet at a coffee shop… and proposed that we work together to create an improvisational comedy show with an advanced care planning theme; something fun, new, and unique, with the goal of encouraging folks to have “the talk.” The “Life and Death Comedy Show” was born.
I’m proud to report that the second annual Life and Death Comedy Show goes on stage April 21st and 22nd 2017. Tickets are now on sale.
I want everyone who is interested to have the opportunity to see Advance Care Planning in a new light.