That could change at least for end of life conversations.

This last Wednesday, Senator Warner spent the morning in Northern Virginia leading a roundtable conversation on end-of-life issues with about 50 hospital executives, nurses, religious leaders, advocates for patients and financial planners. The discussion, held in Loudoun County, focused on issues involved in supporting people with advanced illness and their families.

The Senator spoke about his Senior Navigation and Planning Act, which he expects to introduce as legislation next month. It would provide services for people with advanced illness and support for their caregivers, as well as help to educate health care providers and the public about advanced care.

“My mother had advanced Alzheimers, and was unable to speak for 10 years,” Senator Warner said. “I know firsthand the challenge of ensuring that loved ones with advanced illnesses not only get the best care possible — but also the care that they want.”

RN Lynn Poole said that having a conversation with loved ones about advanced care issues, while often uncomfortable, is necessary. “We’re not talking about how to die here,” she said. “We’re talking about how people want to live. And we need to normalize that conversation.”