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...

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...

8 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

8 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

April 18 2019
Often dying looks painful to the people watching. Dying is a struggle to get out of the body. There are sounds that ordinarily would indicate discomfort but, when a person is actively dying, are part of the struggle. Just as the little chick works to get out of its shell, a person works to get out of their body. It takes effort to release from our body. That includes rattling and gasping sounds, twitching, random hand and leg movements, picking the air, facial grimaces...

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...

7 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

7 Things to Consider Regarding End of Life Pain Management

October 30 2018
Dying is not painful. Disease causes pain. If pain has not been an issue during the disease process then just because a person is actively dying does not mean they are in pain. If pain has been an issue during the disease process that pain is present to the last breath...

FOUR QUESTIONS WE TEND TO ASK WHEN FACED WITH OUR MORTALITY

FOUR QUESTIONS WE TEND TO ASK WHEN FACED WITH OUR MORTALITY

October 02 2018
We cannot put a number on how long our last experience will be. No one, doctors included, can be so specific as to say 6 months, 3 weeks or 24 hours. The closest anyone can come to determining how long someone has to live is months, weeks, days, and hours. There are dynamics that enter into the length of our dying process...

Explaining Pet Death To Children

Explaining Pet Death To Children

September 18 2018
Since my new booklet A Place In My Heart, When a Pet Dies has come out I have had several questions about children an...

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...

WHY NOT HOSPICE? A Reluctance To Refer

WHY NOT HOSPICE?  A Reluctance To Refer

June 26 2018
If the signs are there, get the referral and let a hospice professional determine if Hospice is appropriate. Three things I look for to tell me if it is time for Hospice are: 1. the patient’s condition is deteriorating in spite of the treatment that is being given. 2. You look at the person and say to yourself...

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...

A Hospice With Integrity

A Hospice With Integrity

May 30 2018
Be the best hospice you can possibly be, provide the highest quality of care with the most compassionate, caring staff your area has to offer. Build a reputation within the community not of how many patients you serve but what kind of compassionate, “we go the extra thousand percent for our patient”, care you provide. Build a reputation within the community...

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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