Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Engage with Grace

We make choices throughout our lives - where we want to live, what types of activities will fill our days, with whom we spend our time. These choices are often a balance between our desires and our means, but at the end of the day, they are decisions made with intent. But when it comes to how we want to be treated at the end our lives, often we don't express our intent or tell our loved ones about it.

This has real consequences. 73% of Americans would prefer to die at home, but up to 50% die in hospital. More than 80% of Californians say their loved ones “know exactly” or have a “good idea” of what their wishes would be if they were in a persistent coma, but only 50% say they've talked to them about their preferences.

But our end of life experiences are about a lot more than statistics. They’re about all of us. So the first thing we need to do is start talking.

Engage With Grace: The One Slide Project was designed with one simple goal: to help get the conversation about end of life experience started. The idea is simple: Create a tool to help get people talking. One Slide, with just five questions on it. Five questions designed to help get us talking with each other, with our loved ones, about our preferences. And we’re asking people to share this One Slide – wherever and whenever they can…at a presentation, at dinner, at their book club. Just One Slide, just five questions.

Lets start a global discussion that, until now, most of us haven’t had.

Here is what we are asking you: Download The One Slide and share it at any opportunity – with colleagues, family, friends. Think of the slide as currency and donate just two minutes whenever you can. Commit to being able to answer these five questions about end of life experience for yourself, and for your loved ones. Then commit to helping others do the same. Get this conversation started.

Let's start a viral movement driven by the change we as individuals can effect...and the incredibly positive impact we could have collectively. Help ensure that all of us - and the people we care for - can end our lives in the same purposeful way we live them.

Just One Slide, just one goal. Think of the enormous difference we can make together.

(To learn more please go to This post was written by Alexandra Drane and the Engage With Grace team.)


Lisa Johnson said...

Congratulations on the link! And Happy Thanksgiving!

I started thinking about this a few years ago. I forgot the name of the woman, but she was in a coma and her husband wanted to let her die. I think it was in Florida and the court was involved. It was horrible.

Anyway, it was close to Easter, so I decided that I would see my family that day and would get them to sign a living will. And we spoke about everything then too. In a way it's kind of morbid to discuss this on the holidays, but that is when we see our loved ones.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't care whether I die at home or in a hospital, nor does it worry me a great deal what my family might or might not chose to do if I was in a coma. I don't see why this sort of thing matters very much. FWIW, I have cancer, so it's not like it isn't relevant, I just don't see why these decisions are so important.

T. said...

They're important because the choices eventually have to be made, and someone has to make them, and to many people to whom end-of-life issues do matter a great deal, the ability to actually make these decisions may be lost.

They're important because time and time again, when these issues have NOT been discussed, those left in the position of making the decision either experience enormous suffering as a result of not being sure of a patient's wishes, or make an enormous, conflict-ridden hash out of the process that can ultimately cause a patient greater / unwanted suffering.

And,for purely practical terms, they're important because if patient goes into cardiac and/or respiratory arrest, clinicians need to know if they're authorized to crack the patient's chest open to perform internal cardiac massage or if that would be considered assault because the patient wished to be allowed to die in peace and in as much comfort as possible.

Like it or not, such decisions are ultimately the patient's to make, legally, at least, in the United States, and one might argue, morally and ethically, anywhere. We who are patients or patients-to-be therefore have a responsibility to prepare both ourselves and those who would speak for us for the issues that might present themselves at the end of life.