How Do You Talk About Approaching Death?

How Do You Talk About Approaching Death?

June 11 2020
Our job as an end of life specialist is to address the elephant in the room, to be direct and honest in the gentlest way possible. We are not doing our job, and doing a great disservice to the family, if we don’t talk about Mom’s approaching death, educate, and at least try to prepare the family...

What Does Death Look Like?

What Does Death Look Like?

May 19 2020
We bring our fears, our childhood experiences with death, our culture, our belief systems, and our stereotypes to the bedside of the dying and the dead. Generally, none of that is actually how people die...

In This Time of Great Fear, DYING 101

In This Time of Great Fear, DYING 101

April 08 2020
People don’t die like they do in the movies—alive one minute, saying something profound and dead the next. There is a way that the body dies. A way it is programed to die. It’s just that most of us don’t think about it, don’t know and generally don’t want to think or know about it. This is part of the death denying society that we live in...

Be Aware of the Risk We Present to Those We Are Hired to Care For

Be Aware of the Risk We Present to Those We Are Hired to Care For

March 19 2020
Touch in with the families, “What’s happening? Do you need anything?” Use the same volunteer for each family to develop confidence and bonding. You are saving your staff while providing a sense of security  to your families...

How Does "Fear of Life" Affect Dying?

How Does "Fear of Life" Affect Dying?

February 17 2020
Yes, love of life and fear of death are a part of our personality expression as is our fear of life. In Gone From My Sight I was making a point of how fear plays a part in the length of our labor hence the reference to fear of life...

Is Talking About Dying Insensitive?

Is Talking About Dying Insensitive?

November 14 2019
We really aren’t doing people any favors by not being honest with them. We aren't giving their families the opportunity to do and say what needs to be said and done. We are depriving people the opportunity to put their life in order, to say “goodbye and I love you”...

What Comes Next? Dementia at End of Life

What Comes Next?  Dementia at End of Life

October 28 2019
Dementia is like a road map with many, many roads that eventually lead into a city. Each road is different, each road is of varying lengths and offers various views but all enter into the city at the same place. That place for my dementia analogy is when a person stops eating...

Will I Know I'm Dying?

Will I Know I'm Dying?

August 18 2019
In our personal situations we may never have an answer to the question did he know or had the process started months earlier. What I suspect is that at some time before we die we know that the moment has come...

Developing End of Life Expertise

Developing End of Life Expertise

July 07 2019
You have to walk the walk before you can talk the talk. Learn from your patient/family interactions. At the same time read everything you can get your hands on...

Alzheimer's, Cancer and Hospice

Alzheimer's, Cancer and Hospice

June 13 2019
Dementia isn’t a terminal illness in that it doesn’t have a limited prognosis. It is like dying from old age, it takes longer. Alzheimer’s, or any form of dementia, is difficult to gage as to approaching death. The personality changes and withdraws often over a period of years and sleeping habits are...

Setting Up a Hospice Program

Setting Up a Hospice Program

May 28 2019

...You really don't need a doctor or nurse at the bedside when someone is dying. You need someone who understands the natural way people die and can educate and guide those present through the experience. So, first, you are going to select employees that don't view death as a medical emergency, as a medical failure, and particularly don't view death as bad. Sad for everyone, yes, but not bad...

 

I Hear You, But I Don't Understand

I Hear You, But I Don't Understand

March 24 2019
...I remember being with my mother in my hospice Medical Director’s office. He was explaining to my mother his medical findings as they related to her illness. I, being a hospice Director and in the medical field, didn’t understand what he was talking about. My mother sat on the end of the examining table nodding her head up and down indicting that she understood. She didn’t....

My Personal Integrity Was Wounded Tonight

My Personal Integrity Was Wounded Tonight

February 26 2019
When hospice began it was outside of the medical model. It provided end of life care based on quality, not quantity, of life. It recognized when physical healing couldn't be accomplished there was emotional, mental, and spiritual healing to address...

Pain, Morphine & "Dying in Peace"

Pain, Morphine & "Dying in Peace"

June 14 2018
It is certainly not within our role to act if a person, in the pain of the moment, wants help in ending their life. In the “pain of the moment” are the operative words here. I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard that plea in the throngs of pain, and the relief when that pain is relieved and life continues...

Calories Count

Calories Count

May 14 2018
When living with a life threatening illness we are eating for two---our physical body and our disease. In most cases the disease eats before we do. If we don’t eat, the disease still does. Nutrition will not keep a person alive indefinitely. It does not stop the disease progression. If we have a terminal illness...

The Balancing Act of Caring for the Dying

The Balancing Act of Caring for the Dying

May 03 2018
For healthcare professionals it is often a balancing act to care for patients and then deal with the sense of futility that is triggered when they are doing their job...

DYING Young or Old, The Signs Are The Same

DYING Young or Old, The Signs Are The Same

April 10 2018
There are other signs of approaching death that indicate a person with a disease (at any age) has weeks to live...

The Profound Affect of Dementia on Families

The Profound Affect of Dementia on Families

March 26 2018
I can say that dementia doesn’t play by the rules for end of life. Withdrawing and sleeping can be present for years and does not signify approaching death. Not eating and not swallowing are your key signs. If we don’t eat, we can’t continue to live. Always offer food (be careful of choking), but don’t force food.
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