Engage with grace

Christian Sinclair over at PalliMed blog writes up the Engage with Grace movement, and its One Slide Project that is designed to harness family holiday gatherings to have important discussions about your wishes related to end of life care. I am with Christian and Engage with Grace about the need to talk about these sorts of issues, though I am not sure what my mom would do if I rolled this out during Thanksgiving Dinner (I didn’t find out; she had already declared my discussion of the long range budget problems of the U.S. during snacks before lunch to be “a bit grim for Thanksgiving” so I didn’t pull out the questions…).

The 5 questions, reproduced below, are a useful tool to motivate a family discussion, and even to initiate a discussion with yourself. They are simplistic, but can get the ball rolling:

Christian goes on to further addresses why reticence to talk about these issues as a family is a problem:

Noted journalist Eleanor Clift gave an amazing talk, finding a way to weave humor and joy into her telling of the story she shared in this Health Affairsarticle. She elegantly sums up (as only she can) the reason that we have this blog rally every year:

For too many physicians, that conversation is hard to have, and families, too, are reluctant to initiate a discussion about what Mom or Dad might want until they’re in a crisis, which isn’t the best time to make these kinds of decisions. Ideally, that conversation should begin at the kitchen table with family members, rather than in a doctor’s office.

Small steps, but they are important.

About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy at Duke University (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute). I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy, and currently serve as Chair of Duke's University Priorities Committee (UPC). My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

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