Engage with Grace


Engage with Grace is a project I learned about a month ago at the Health 2.0 Conference. Alexandra Drane presented the very personal story of her sister-in-law’s death, at home and in direct opposition to the recommendations of her physicians. About 1000 people in the room and you could hear a pin drop–except for occasional sobs–mine included.

Several dozen bloggers in the health care field and beyond are engaged in a blog rally* this weekend, simultaneously posting the one slide and Alexandra Drane’s post to
encourage conversation about a topic that’s often avoided but every family ought be discussing: How we want to die.
Please try it, using the slide above as a discussion guide. It’s not
that hard to have the conversation with your loved ones once you get

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
(that’s it above) 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.)

* In case you are wondering, "blog rally" is a term invented this past weekend
A blog rally is the simultaneous presentation of identical or similar
material on numerous blogs, for the purpose of engaging large numbers
of readers and/or persuading them to adopt a certain position or take a
certain action. The simultaneous natu re of a blog rally creates the
ironic result of joining the efforts of otherwise independent bloggers
for an agreed-upon purpose. As far as we can tell, this is the first
recorded use of a blog rally — occurring from November 26 through
November 30, 2008, in support of a viral movement called ‘Engage with
Grace: The One Slide Project’ — organized to encourage families to
discuss end-of-life care issues while gathered together for the
Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This particular blog rally also has a
parallel component on Facebook, where many people are donating their
status to bring attention to Engage with Grace.

I must credit Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston whose blog, Running a Hospital is where I learned of the weekend "blog rally". Levy is also on Twitter as PaulFLevy.