Danah Flanagan

I want to be a change agent in breaking down the stigma surrounding the discussions of advance care planning, to challenge the thinking within our society, and to help normalize these conversations between patients and families.

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Story:

Throughout my career as a hospice social worker and support group educator, I have had the opportunity to work with many families in regards to “having the conversation”.  The end of life and grief process was noticeably different between those who had the conversation and those who had not.  The patients who had open dialogue and documentation about their wishes were in a much calmer state facing end of life decisions.  Their time together seemed to be filled with more quality interactions, a sense of acceptance and more about just wanting to be present and honor their loved one’s wishes.  I saw less expressions of guilt, panic and uncertainty.  When patients and families have not had the opportunity to have these conversations, they are thrown into full blown crisis, feeling overwhelmed, fearful, angry, and uncertain of what to do

It has become a passion of mine to educate the community about having the conversation.  I want to be a change agent in breaking down the stigma surrounding the discussions of advance care planning, to challenge the thinking within our society, and to help normalize these conversations between patients and families.  It warms my heart when I get to see patients and families come together to have these difficult conversations and you see the sense of relief and accomplishment.  My hope is that the hard work that we are putting in with each generation to educate on having the conversation, to normalize end of life care and all that goes with it, these seeds we are planting now will bloom into something beautiful and natural for generations to come.

Professional Bio:

Danah is currently the Director of Support Services at Hospice of the West.  She has been a social worker for over 24 years and has a long time passion for hospice work.  Danah has been an educator in her various roles within social work and is compassionate and committed to community outreach regarding education on end of life care and the importance of advance directives.