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Bart Windrum - Axiom Action. Boulder, CO, US

Bart Windrum

author / change agent / patient-family advocate | Axiom Action


Overcoming the Seven Deadly Obstacles to Dying in Peace — a unique lay perspective



Bart Windrum Publication Bart Windrum Publication Bart Windrum Publication Bart Windrum Publication



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Bart Windrum Keynote and Conversation Dying IN Peace to Die AT Peace - New Terms of Engagement: Bart Windrum at TEDxFoCo




For the fastest broadest overview of my work see the 20 minute talk at TEDxFoCo talk at . Note: this talk contains a satirical rap starting at 8:00. It serves a purpose—highlighting our absurd quandary succinctly. People either love it or hate it. If it turns you off advance to the 10:30 mark and continue the talk.

During 2004 and 2005 each my parents died after approximately 3 weeks' stay in what became their terminal hospitalizations. Neither was expected. My folks were advance-planned and we'd had multiple conversations about end of life matters and preferences. Both demises were long and rough on all of us in our patient-family. Medical errors, small and large, became hallmarks of each.

Not wanting to fail again at attaining a peaceful death, I undertook to get to the bottom of our experiences. The resulting book, Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One's (End of Life) Hospitalization offers guidance for how to advocate when hospitalized and about revisioning end of life in order to die in peace. Notes was a 2009 Colorado Book Award finalist and the work is endorsed by a range of providers.

Now (early 2014), the past 2 years have brought a range of new works:
- Windrum's Matrix of Dying Terms™
- Never Say Die Rap
- article about including medical error (the US's third leading cause of death) included in "top causes of death" charts
- webinar and semiar series: Overcoming the Seven Deadly Obstacles to Dying in Peace.

While death and dying are not particularly happy topics, the sense of empowerment one can obtain from gaining knowledge is rewarding and priceless. Americans have reached the point of wanting some guidance about dying in peace. My presentations go deep, offering unique, and uniquely formulated, actionable content.

[keyword add: hospice, palliation, palliative, end of life, aid in dying]

Industry Expertise (6)

Funeral Services

Consumer Services



Health and Wellness

Public Safety

Areas of Expertise (4)

End of Life




Accomplishments (3)

Windrum's Matrix of Dying Terms™ (professional)


When we fail to distinguish among dying outcomes we're more susceptible to dying the non-peaceful deaths we all say we want to avoid. Because the sole word 'dying' fails to forecast the choices in front of us, we need a range of accurate terms to describe them. A unique and new thanatological work, Windrum's Matrix of Dying Terms for the first time both identifies and names sixteen distinctly different dying outcomes ahead of all of us in the 21st century.

Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One's (End of Life) Hospitalization (professional)


2008: published: • Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One's (End of Life) Hospitalization (a 2009 Colorado Book Awards Finalist • How to Efficiently Settle the Family Estate • The Option to Die in PEACE (Patient Ethical Alternative Care Elective), a Colorado healthcare reform initiative.

Windrum's Never Say Die Rap (professional)


We who want to die in peace, or have family members who want to and fail, have a deep conundrum. Many obstacles impede reaching our goal. With 2.5 million Americans dying annually (and more worldwide), with family members surviving with haunted memories, we all have an absurd and needlessly painful quandary. Windrum's Never Say Die Rap is a wry, satirical yet upbeat, solution-oriented musical statement.

Education (1)

autodidact: autodidact

At sixty years of age and a college dropout, I don't necessarily put much stock in formal education. I believe my works, listed below, are the functional equivalent of a masters degree. • Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One's (End of Life) Hospitalization • How to Efficiently Settle the Family Estate • Windrum's Matrix of Dying Terms™

Testimonials (9)

Nick Armstrong, Curator, TEDxFoCo, Curator, TEDxFoCo | TEDxFoCo3

Bart’s talk overflowed with pertinent, well-presented facts punctuated by humor and family-centric storytelling. TEDxFoCo 3’s success was due in part to the unforgettable Windrum's Never Say Die Rap. Much of the overheard follow-up discussion centered around how to take next steps regarding Bart’s ideas. Proactive in his questions and communication during the event’s preparatory run-up, Bart has earned a place as the most enthusiastic, professional, and best organized speaker I've encountered as a TEDx curator. Identifying and overcoming obstacles to dying in peace is a topic that anyone who fogs a mirror ought to hear. I cannot overstate how delighted I am that Bart graced our stage and I heartily recommend him for yours.

Ron Huff, HCA Ethics Director, Director, Center for Clinical Ethics | Hospital Corporation of America / Annual Ethics Conference

Bart Windrum’s 2009 talks were poignant, comprehensive, even-handed, and extremely well-received by their respective audiences. Bart’s experience-based perspective and accessible writing style adds an important voice to the field of end-of-life care reform.

Regina Holliday, international patient conference speaker, Founding Artist, The Walking Gallery | Partnership With Patients (2012)

Bart Windrum exemplifies the power of a patient speaker in his careful and thoughtful delivery. His powerpoint presentations are state of the art and appeal to a wide audience. He is detail oriented and clear in his presentations. His rebuttals are well thought out and sourced. He would be an asset to any conference or event focusing on patient safety.

Elinor Christiansen, President | Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

Bart’s presentation was informative, sensitive, and insightful, opening doors to new options for many participants. Bart shed light on the need for — and ramifications in the absence of — communication with loved ones and care providers as we approach, prepare for, and deal with the end of life.

Diann Uustal, RN, MS, EdD; Clinical Ethicist |

Notes from the Waiting Room offers a poignant and elegant examination of tensions interfering with the peaceful de- mise most Americans say they want. Constructive, engaging, and challenging...a must-read for laypersons and professionals who champion common sense, good stew- ardship, and humane caring.

Robert Eaton, Director of Mission and Spiritual Care, Office of Mission and Ministry | St. Anthony Central Hospital, Denver, Colorado

The Option to Die in PEACE is of great benefit to patients and families everywhere, providing a practical framework to master a maze of conflict- ing options and opinions.

Richard D. Lamm, former Colorado Governor | now at Denver University

A practical, wise, and timely exploration of an inescapable universal event. Bart's book speaks to us all.

Cordt T. Kassner, PhD, CEO | Colorado Center for Hospice and Palliative Care

Notes from the Waiting Room will prepare you to navigate complex medical and legal systems. Mr. Windrum has provided a compass for you to expect the unexpected and become an effective advocate for those you love.

Daniel Johnson, MD, Palliative Medicine Physician | Director, Life Quality Institute

Notes from the Waiting Room is a powerful and important book. It eloquently personalizes one family's repeated journey through the all-too-common chaos and distress associated with end-of-life hospitalizations. Notes provides practical suggestions for patients and families. Equally important, it challenges the medical profession to find better ways of ensuring "care" when "cure" is no longer possible, and highlights the importance of the emerging field of palliative care.

Event Appearances (5)

Dying IN Peace to Die AT Peace: New Terms of Engagement

TEDxFoCo  Fort Collins, CO USA


Dying in Peace

Partnership With Patients  Kansas City, MO USA


Why Do We Buy Off-the-Shelf Dying (and How to Die in Peace)

Funeral Consumers Alliance Biennial Conference  Tucson, AZ USA


How to Die in Peace

Can We Talk (ethics symposium)  Denver, CO USA


Preventable Failures

Annual Ethics Conference  Hospital Corporation of America, Nashville, TN USA


Sample Talks (2)

Why Do We Buy Off-the-Shelf Dying? and How to Die in Peace

90% of us say we want to die in peace. About 15% of us do. Why the disconnect? Even with advance directives, it's too easy for the peaceful death we want to get derailed due to chance, shifting circumstances, error, or design. In this talk I bring forth a range of issues that together tend to create troubled demises for the dying and lifetime regret for survivors. We can change that.

Dying IN Peace to Die AT Peace: New Terms of Engagement

This talk frames dying peacefully within the context of overcoming the 5 primary obstacles to doing so. It includes a performance of Windrum's Never Say Die Rap, a musical statement of our absurd and painful quandary, and a concise overview of Windrum's Matrix of Dying Terms, which for the first time both identifies and names the full range of distinctly different dying outcomes ahead of all of us in the 21st century.



  • Keynote
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Author Appearance
  • Corporate Training


1000 to 3500 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee