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...

Our Children Aren't Supposed to Die Before Us

Our Children Aren't Supposed to Die Before Us

June 25 2019
From the moment of a diagnosis of a life threatening illness we begin grieving. We grieve not just the eventual losses that come with serious illness but the approaching...

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...

 

An Unpleasant Situation

An Unpleasant Situation

April 30 2019
I am sharing this letter and my response because this family is not the only family that has carried memories, sometimes for years, of situations that occurred as their loved one was being cared for. As health care professionals it is a huge part of our job to educate, to explain what we are doing and why we are doing it...

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....

SOCIAL WORKERS: I want to be like you when I grow up

SOCIAL WORKERS:  I want to be like you when I grow up

March 11 2019

This is the story that came to mind when I decided to write a blog for National Social Work month. Social work, to me, is about saying the right words at the right moment, words that have a profound effect on a person’s life from that point forward. Being the listener with just a touch of direction...

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...

GRIEF- Struggling After Mom's Death

GRIEF- Struggling After Mom's Death

February 11 2019
Often after a person dies we forget that there is no perfect relationship, that there are easy times and difficult times. Somehow once a person dies we elevate them to sainthood. By doing that we lock in the hurts. The guilt that is part of any relationship...

Refusing Treatment At Age 93

Refusing Treatment At Age 93

January 23 2019
Why make your mother’s remaining time be unhappy and with more discontent than is already there due to age and illness? Being old is hard work. Our thinking processes aren't as sharp, our memory is diminishing...

Six Months To Live? A Doctor's Prediction

Six Months To Live?  A Doctor's Prediction

January 08 2019
So many factors affect the length of our labor to leave this world that it is imprudent to put a specific time frame on approaching death. The closest we can credibly come to predicting when death is going to arrive is to guesstimate the time in months or weeks with no numbers attached...

IT HAPPENED FOR A REASON? Death of a Child

IT HAPPENED FOR A REASON?  Death of a Child

December 11 2018
I suggest writing a letter to the person that died and saying from your heart what you need to say that you didn't say before. I recommend that you write your baby girl a letter. Pour your heart out to her and offer to her your wanting to let go of all the negative feelings you have been carrying all these years. Tell her, from the bottom of your heart...

Family Discord As Death Approaches

Family Discord As Death Approaches

October 16 2018
What I have discovered is that a family member dying can bring a family together. It can be their finest moment of closeness and comfort. But for other families it brings out the worst in relationship...

A PLACE IN MY HEART, When a Pet Dies

A PLACE IN MY HEART, When a Pet Dies

August 28 2018
We can be as much at a loss when our pet is dying as we are when a person is dying but there doesn’t seem to be the support and guidance available for when a beloved pet is dying hence this new booklet...

Purpose, Forgiveness and Meaning at End of Life

Purpose, Forgiveness and Meaning at End of Life

August 14 2018
What is the aim of a life review? As a caregiver my aim is not to direct a life review but to be a presence, a listener, and a friend. If life review becomes a subject the patient wants to pursue (whatever words may be used...

Where Is The Hospice I Know and Love?

Where Is The Hospice I Know and Love?

July 25 2018
Hospice can not take the experience and sadness of a loved one dying away. Our goal is to help the family create a sacred experience, to help their loved one have as gentle a death as possible, and when we have done our job well the family will have that sacred memory...

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...

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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