Heart to Heart® Café

Heart to Heart® Café is an advance care planning activity in which a group of people play Heart to Heart® cards and share their end-of-life wishes.

A resource by Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care

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Email: info@caccc-usa.org

Heart to Heart® Café is a communication activity designed to make it easier for a family member, a caregiver, or a health provider to understand what a loved one wants done when life is ending. At a Heart to Heart Café, a group of people play Heart to Heart® cards, choosing cards and sharing what matters most to them. Then identify their action plans for carrying out their end-of-life wishes. The Café takes about two hours. It is led by CACCC trained Heart to Heart® Café Facilitators. And it is an advance care planning group activity.

Heart to Heart® Café was established in 2014. Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care was formed in December 2005 by Founder Sandy Chen Stokes, RN, MSN to address the lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate end-of-life information and training available to the Chinese community.

Heart to Heart® Cafés are held in a variety of settings, including people's homes, churches, temples, adult day care centers, cafes, and community spaces. It opens to all communities and belief systems.

Heart to Heart® Cards are similar to a regular deck of playing cards, however each suit in the Heart to Heart deck represents an area of concern when it comes to end-of-life care. Each deck of cards contains a total of 54 cards: 13 each of Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and 2 “Jokers”. The suit of hearts represents spiritual concerns, the diamonds financial concerns, the clubs social, and the spades physical.

Each player picks 12 cards—three from each suit—and then identifies which would be their top three priorities regarding their end-of-life care. The game is to not only encourage conversation among the participants, but also to open them up to talking to their family members about their preferences.

The top 5 cards people picked are:

3 of Spades. 25.8%, I don’t want to be kept alive by machines.

Ace of Clubs, 21.6%, I don’t want to be a burden to my family.

Ace of Spades, 19.2%, I don’t want to suffer.

Queen of Hearts, 15.7%, I want to die without regret.

Ace of Hearts, 14.8%, I want to maintain my dignity.


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