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Many bloggers are posting inform ...

Posted Jan 07 2009 6:05pm

Many bloggers are posting information today about a initiative to encourage conversation about a very difficult topic: How we want to die. This collective effort to prompt discussions about this topic at the beginning of the holiday season is very timely, and it is a good complement to my post last week about empathy and compassion in healthcare.

What follows is essentially the same text that appears on many other blogs along with a picture of the “One Slide” listing the 5 conversation promoting questions that are at the core of the Project:

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Engage with Grace: The One Slide Project is an astonishingly simple idea that literally touches everyone. Alexandra (”Alex”) Drane, whose sister-in-law died in the hospital, (at age 32 of glioblastoma - seven months post diagnosis - grab your tissues and see the backstory ), has set in motion a talking/blogging/thinking campaign to get us to deeply consider how we want to die.

Alex’s one slide has five conversation-starter questions about dying, really simple stuff like: given the choice, do you want to die at home or in the hospital; do you want medical intervention or not…etc (see below) - and then she did the networking thing. Now bloggers have agreed to post her message about the campaign as a Thanksgiving project. We’re all posting the same message - with a lead-in of our choosing on Nov 26 - and leaving it up throughout the holiday weekend (yay! an enforced break from blogging - my family will be so happy).

The One Slide from the Engage with Grace Project

There’s also a great video with Alex explaining how she used the very best of networking principles to keep this really really simple. 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 www.engagewithgrace.org. This post was written by Alexandra Drane and the Engage With Grace team.)

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P.S. - I just wanted to add that I have had several friends and relatives succumb to brain tumors, so I have a personal connection this story and this project’s goals.

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