The Antidote

Counterspin for Health Care and Health News

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Improving the End-of-Life Experience

The "Engage with Grace" project was created by Paul Levy, of the Running a Hospital blog, and Matthew Holt of The Health Care Blog:

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)

Op-Ed on Health Care Reform

Shannon Brownlee, author of Overtreated, and Ezekiel Emanuel, author of Healthcare: Guaranteed, two thoughtful people working toward making our health care "system" more fair, safe, and efficient, have an Op-Ed in favor of health care reform in today's Washington Post. Their goal is to dispel some myths about health care, starting with the canard that the U.S. system is the best in the world. Interestingly, further down, the authors cite survey data showing that 70 percent of Americans feel that the system needs major changes if not a complete overhaul. Still, it helps to repeat outloud and often that our system is not the best - just the most expensive. The comments about the costs of health insurance, and who pays them, are well taken and less obvious.

Read my interview with Shannon Brownlee here.

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