Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Engage with grace

One of the things all hospital lawyers have to deal with is sorting through issues surrounding family disputes over end-of-life decisions. This is never the happiest part of our job. We see the pain and sadness that often results when individuals and families chose to avoid advanced discussion about end-of-life issues.

Last Thanksgiving weekend, many bloggers participated in the first documented blog rally to promote Engage With Grace - a movement aimed at having all of us understand and communicate our end-of-life wishes.

It was a great success, with over 100 bloggers in the healthcare space and beyond participating and spreading the word. Plus, it was timed to coincide with a weekend when most of us are with the very people with whom we should be having these tough conversations - our closest friends and family.

The original mission - to get more and more people talking about their end of life wishes - hasn't changed. And in light of the the craziness, scare tactics and misinformation in Congress this year over "death panels", it is all the more important to bring sensible, clear information to this important topic.

At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation started. We've included them at the top of this post. They're not easy questions, but they are important. Having a template like this - just five questions in plain, simple language - can deflate some of the complexity, formality and even misnomers that have sometimes surrounded the end-of-life discussion.

So with that, think about them, document them, share them.  If you want to learn more, check out David Harlow's excellent post on his blog from last year.  Wishing you and yours a holiday that's fulfilling in all the right ways.

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