The GIFT Project

The GIFT Project – Giving Instructions for Tomorrow

The GIFT Project is an initiative of Hospice Austin to encourage advance care planning prior to a health care crisis. The GIFT Project is also available to present advance care planning sessions out in the community. We offer two types of sessions: Advance Care Planning for the community, and Advance Care Planning for health care professionals.


Community Advance Care Planning Session

Many of us have two fears when it comes to end of life: that we will not get the care we need, and that we will get the care we do not want. This one-hour interactive session empowers participants to identify what matters most to them and take steps to ensure their wishes are honored.

The GIFT Project can provide an Advance Care Planning Session or a screening of the documentary “Being Mortal” to your place of business, congregation, civic group, adult living facility, neighborhood meeting or book club. The presentations are free and discussion includes how to:

  • Identify your wishes
  • Decide who you would like to speak for you
  • Discuss your wishes with loved ones
  • Complete your advance directives

The GIFT Project also hosts monthly advance care planning sessions on the first Thursday of the month from 12:00 – 1:00 pm at 4107 Spicewood Springs Road.


Health Care Professionals Advance Care Planning

To encourage more frequent conversations between patients and medical providers, The GIFT Project also provides Advance Care Planning Sessions and “Being Mortal” Screenings that are designed for health care professionals and include:

  • Assisting staff in conducting conversations with patients and helping patients fill out advance directives
  • Billing correctly for advance care planning conversations with patients
  • Helping staff complete their own advance directives


“Being Mortal” Screenings

Based on the best-selling book by surgeon Atul Gawande, PBS Frontline’s “Being Mortal” explores the relationship between patients facing a serious illness and their doctors. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how to best care for the dying becomes a personal quest.

After each screening attendees can participate in a guided conversation on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences.

Watch a short trailer of the film here.

If you know of a group who might be interested in hosting an advance care planning session or “Being Mortal” screening, please contact Shirley Price or call her at (512) 342-4789.

The GIFT Project is made possible by a generous grant from the St. David’s Foundation.

Consider the Facts

  • More than 90% of people believe it’s important to talk about their loved ones’ and their own wishes for end-of-life care.
    Fewer than 30% of people have actually done it.
  • 70% of people say they would prefer to die at home.
    70% die in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term-care facility.
  • 80% of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about end-of-life care.
    Only 7% report having had this conversation.
  • 82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing.
    23% have actually done so.


Having the Conversation

Communication is the single most important step in health care planning. Making your wishes known is one of the most generous gifts you can give to a loved one. When you’re ready to have the conversation, think about the basics:

  • Who do you want to talk to? Who do you trust to speak for you?
  • When would be a good time to talk — the next big holiday, a family meal, an evening phone call?
  • Where would you feel comfortable talking – at the kitchen table, a restaurant, on a drive or walk?
  • What do you want to be sure to say?

Conversation Starters:

  • “I love you and I want to talk about something important to me.”
  • “I need your help with something.”
  • “I was remembering the way [Aunt June] died, and it got me thinking…”
  • “Even though I’m okay right now, I want to be prepared.”
  • “I need to think about the future. Will you help me?”
  • “I just answered some questions about how I want the end of my life to be. I want you to see my answers, and I’m wondering what your answers would be.”