Does Our Personality Change As We Approach Death?

Does Our Personality Change As We Approach Death?

August 07 2020
First, what is meant by “dying person”? In the months before death most people really don’t believe they are dying. “Other people die, not me. There will be a cure, a mistake, or a miracle”.  They also begin withdrawing, showing less interest in the outside world and become more introspective. That introspection is not always peaceful or even positive. Thoughts and behavior will relate to how much fear is present. We are all going to be afraid as we approach death.

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...

How To Say Goodbye When I'm Not There

How To Say Goodbye When I'm Not There

June 03 2020
People are dying and in a manner we are not used to. We, in America, have become accustomed to having our loved one either at home with family close, or in a nursing facility with some family, or in a hospital, hopefully with family present.

In the next weeks and months some of our loved ones may be dying basically alone...

Bereavement Support is Important at Any Time, Now, it's Vital

Bereavement Support is Important at Any Time, Now, it's Vital

May 19 2020
Hospice Bereavement support, as well as any bereavement support program (church, Community Support, Senior Activity Program) is important during the best of times. Now it is vital.  Here are my recommendations; what I would do if I had a bereavement program today during this pandemic...

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...

How To Help Families Care For Their Dying Loved One During Social D...

How To Help Families Care For Their Dying Loved One During Social Distancing

May 08 2020
Hospices seem to be struggling with how to provide services now that being in homes and facilities is not an option. When we cannot rely on routines, when there is no normal anymore, we have to begin thinking of new ways to provide service. We have to start thinking outside the box. We have to create new ways of providing care, new ways of getting education to our families...

Can We Ever Thank You Enough, Front Line Workers?

Can We Ever Thank You Enough, Front Line Workers?

May 05 2020
Our frontline workers: nurses, nursing assistants, doctors, hospital employees, first responders, housekeeping, grocery, delivery, and transportation personnel, all people who are out front while most of us shelter in place, my admiration for you has no bounds...

Front Line Workers, Do You Have Self Care Rituals?

Front Line Workers, Do You Have Self Care Rituals?

April 22 2020
During this time of crisis work it is hard to remember to take care of yourself. There doesn’t seem time for that but if you don’t at least try to put “your own oxygen mask on” you will not get the essentials you need to continue. You are carrying fear for yourself (whether realized or not), excess adrenaline just to meet the shift needs (which brings a sense of exhaustion when the shift is over), and non stop 8, 10, 12 work hours, so sleep for you is vital. Don’t neglect the basics, food, sleep, and a release of each day...

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...

Taking Some of the Fear Out of Dying Alone

Taking Some of the Fear Out of Dying Alone

April 03 2020
I see families devastated by not being able to be with their loved one as they are dying. I am writing this for any person who is faced with a loved one dying alone in the hospital. My hope is that some understanding hence comfort can be found among these words. This guidance can also be used by healthcare workers when they face the difficult job of telling families they can’t be present. These ideas can’t fix this horrific situation but they can bring a bit of understanding and “something to do” to an otherwise bleak message.

Does Morphine Hasten Death?

Does Morphine Hasten Death?

November 16 2015
The use of Morphine is one of the most misunderstood practices I encounter with families and end of life issues. Our society is so drug conscious we tend to equate any use as misuse...

Let's Talk Poop--Bowel Movements and End of Life Care

Let's Talk Poop--Bowel Movements and End of Life Care

March 03 2014

Being active helps us poop therefore the less active we are, and people approaching the end of their life through disease or old age gradually have less and less energy hence do less and sleep more, the more prone to constipation we will be. Constipation becomes a problem as activity decreases. Laxatives become necessary.

What is Terminal Restlessness?

What is Terminal Restlessness?

October 01 2012

Terminal restlessness is a medical term for the restlessness and agitation that often begins one to three weeks before death from disease. The restlessness shows itself by random body movements, hands picking the air or clothing, by just not being settled and quiet...