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...

"One Lone Tear", Dementia at End of Life

"One Lone Tear", Dementia at End of Life

August 07 2019
The guilt, frustration, uncertainty, and helplessness of family caregivers is as much a problem to our healthcare system as the patient with dementia...

Why I Wrote My New Booklet: PAIN AT END OF LIFE

Why I Wrote My New Booklet:  PAIN AT END OF LIFE

July 24 2019
In todays culture with the opioid crisis rampant, fear of narcotic use is everywhere. That fear hinders our ability to provide appropriate comfort management and is leading to misconceptions about how hospice takes care of their patients. I hear way too often that “Hospice killed my mother by overdosing her with morphine”... 

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...

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...

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...

Hospice ~ What Have We Accomplished?

Hospice ~ What Have We Accomplished?

November 26 2018
We’ve had over 40 years of providing end of life care to the community. And yes, it is acknowledgment of our work that there is a national Hospice month but from where I stand we still have a lot of community education and healthcare professional education to provide...

BIRTH BACKWARDS, A Daughter's Death

BIRTH BACKWARDS, A Daughter's Death

November 14 2018
At 8:17pm she took one more breath and then at 8:18 there was one more which I describe as hot caramel pouring onto vanilla ice cream. It was the most perfect breath, the most peaceful entering into another portal. I felt like I had had a complete birth experience...

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...

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...

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...
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