What is TalkVermont?

TalkVermont is a statewide multi-component intervention to improve conversations between clinicians and seriously ill patients. TalkVermont uses evidence-based methods to coach clinicians in state-of-the-art serious illness communication and re-engineer the practice environment to support timely and effective communication.


Communication Coaching: We collaborated with VitalTalk, the premier serious illness communication coaching method, to tailor their evidence-based communication skills training programs for our setting. These one-day coaching workshops are engaging, interprofessional, and focused on eliciting patient values in context to the illness they are experiencing. Clinicians trained using the VitalTalk method feel more resilient and their patients report greater trust and connection with them.

System Re-engineering: We have partnered with Harvard University School of Public Health’s Ariadne Labs to implement the Serious Illness Care Program (SICP). The SICP is a trial proven intervention to re-engineer the clinical environment in order to promote patients and their clinicians having, documenting and acting on high quality serious illness conversations. The SICP improves patients’ Quality of Life, increases rates of patients’ receiving medical treatment that comports with their values and preferences, lowers healthcare cost in last six months of life and improves clinician satisfaction with their practice.

Highlights of TalkVermont to date:talkvt map evolution  as of Feb 2019bv2

TalkVermont began in the Spring of 2017. We identified 30 clinicians from throughout Vermont and the Adirondack region of New York to become TalkVermont Communication Coaches. Each coach completed an in-person 5-day certification course over a 6-month period of time to teach the VitalTalk communication method.

To date, we have completed 12 TalkVermont communication workshops throughout Vermont (Burlington, Berlin, Middlebury) and Adirondack Region of New York (Glens Falls) and we will continue monthly workshops to reach clinicians in all regions of Vermont. More than 130 physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, and chaplains have completed our full day course, “Mastering Late Goals of Care” communication course. Clinicians report improvements in their communication skills and greater satisfaction with patient interactions after taking the course.

We have also initiated the Serious Illness Care Program in two Premier Demonstration Sites: UVM Health Network Home Health and Hospice, and Colchester Family Practice.

Premier Demonstration Sites:

UVM Medical Center – Colchester Family Medicine
We provide obstetrical care and deliveries, care for your children as they grow into young men and women, and care for adults of all ages. We offer annual health physicals, sports and work forms, as well as care for acute illnesses and chronic diseases.
We provide a continuity of health care for your entire life, from providers who get to know you well. In short, we're here to meet you and your family's health care needs when you need us.

The University of Vermont Health Network Home Health & Hospice
Home Health & Hospice, formerly the Visiting Nurse Association, is Vermont’s oldest and largest non-profit home health and hospice organization providing medically-complex home and community-based care to individuals and families throughout Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties.  Home Health & Hospice programs span a lifetime and include comprehensive nursing care for adults and children, rehabilitation services, chronic disease management, hospice and palliative care services, adult day programs, private care services and the McClure Miller Respite House. Last year, the organization served over 5,400 individuals and provided $1.54 million in charitable care to our neighbors in need. We are proud to be a funded agency of the United Way of Northwest Vermont. For more information on services and programs, please call 802-658-1900 or visit UVMHomeHealth.org