Earlier in the day, I'd noticed folks twittering about something called Engage With Grace. Being in clinic, I didn't pay much attention. Back home, I found out about the Mumbai attacks. Terrorists launched an unprecedented attack at multiple places in Mumbai, India, killing and wounding several and taking hostages. The news shook me, and this post hit home.
We hardly ever plan to die. Or even fall sick. Sickness and death happen, sometimes when you least expect them to. When I was on consult service, we were regularly consulted for End of LIfe issues. Take an example. A 50 year old man was in the hospital and appointed his son the Medical Power of Attorney. He then went to live with his daughter instead, and told her he wanted to die peacefully at home. When he was on his death bed, five years later, his daughter and son disagreed on the plan and the son's wishes had to be followed, resulting in a course of treatment (and suffering) the patient probably had not wanted.
This happens ALL the time. And it is completely preventable. Consider this.
- 73% of Americans would prefer to die at home, but anywhere between 20-50% of Americans die in hospital settings.
- 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.
- Eight out of ten people say it is “very” or “somewhat” important to write down EOL wishes, but only 36% actually have written instructions.
Our conversation can make a difference. This Thanksgiving, talk to your loved ones about this.
- Commit 2 minutes to present The One Slide at your next company meeting
- Share the slide with loved ones over dinner
- Be able to answer the questions for yourself and for your loved ones
- Answer the five questions on this site
- Encourage others to do the same
Download the slide here.
For more information, go to www.engagewithgrace.org
Create your free online advanced directives here.