For the third year running I am participating in the Thanksgiving holiday Engage with Grace Blog Rally. A viral effort to communicate the importance of having a conversation with your family and loved ones around end of life care wishes. Would you prefer to die in a hospital, or at home? Can your family correctly describe how you would want to be treated in the case of a terminal illness or sudden traumatic accident? Does your family know where you keep your living will and advanced directive?
At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation about end-of-life started. They’re not easy questions, but they are important. The key is having the conversation before it’s too late. Throughout the year I continue to promote the Engage with Grace effort (and so can you) by using the One Slide (see the slide below) at the end of my power point presentations.
So in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, take time after your dinner, turn off the TV, and take time with your family and friends to engage in the Engage with Grace conversation.
Thanks to Alexandra Drane, Paul Levy, and many other health care bloggers and professionals for continuing to inspire and share the Engage with Grace message. Learn more about Engage with Grace and the One Slide Project at http://www.engagewithgrace.org.
Some other resources you may want to read and explore:
- Atul Gawande's thought provoking piece in the New Yorker, Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can't save your life?
- Alexandra Drane sharing the concept behind Engage with Grace at this year's TEDMED event. Read the full text of her presentation.
- CNN article, At Thanksgiving, the hardest conversation which features a video interview with Alexandra Drane and good advice from Jeffrey Asher, an elder-care attorney with Eaton & Van Winkle LLP in New York on how to get the end of life care conversation started.
- My 2008 Engage with Grace Blog post where I shared how Alexandra Drane's talk at the 2008 Health 2.0 Conference personally touched me because of my experience as a young 12 year old boy who lost his mother to cancer who was allowed to die at home surrounded by her husband and family.
- For my West Virginia readers who want to learn more about end of life care. Check out the resources provided by the West Virginia Center for End of Life Care. There is also valuable information for health care professionals. You can find forms for the standard West Virginia Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney. The site also includes information, FAQs, list of West Virginia palliative/hospice providers and other resources.