Would She Still Be Alive?

Would She Still Be Alive?

December 11 2019
It sounds like she was given morphine to ease her transition from this world to the next. Not knowing your grandmother's medical history I cannot say if the morphine was appropriate or not. What I can say is it did not kill her. She was dying...

How Can I Celebrate The Holidays When I Feel So Sad?

How Can I Celebrate The Holidays When I Feel So Sad?

November 27 2019
In our culture the holidays, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas, emphasize family and friend togetherness. The absence of a friend or family member becomes more evident. Our sense of loss is more “in our face” than other times of the year...

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...

Are Narcotics Necessary for the Dying?

Are Narcotics Necessary for the Dying?

October 17 2019
Pain management is different in the last seven days because the body is not functioning in its normal way. Circulation, breathing, oxygen exchange are not happening properly so medications are not being absorbed and carried throughout the body in a normal way. Nothing in the body works “right” so medications won’t work “right” either...

Mom Needs Hospice? Here are your questions to choose the right one...

Mom Needs Hospice?  Here are your questions to choose the right one...

September 18 2019
There have been many changes in hospice care since it began. Some for the better, some not so much. What I am suggesting as representing a “good” hospice is becoming harder to find. My hope is that by setting the standard high, and...

Do I Want Home Health Services or Hospice?

Do I Want Home Health Services or Hospice?

September 03 2019
I know it is scary to think of using hospice. It says death will happen soon, but there is such guidance and support to help that at least ask for an information visit. A hospice referral is a win-win. You win if hospice says it is too soon and ...

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...
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