In this episode Dr. Wyatt shares some ideas for helping others during this holiday season. The best antidote to despair is to care for someone else!
If you’d like to support this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series you can visit our donation page at Patreon.com/eolu.
Here are some suggestions for reaching out to others in need during the holidays:
Visit a patient in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Bring music to a nursing facility with a choir or band
Visit an elderly neighbor in their home
Take a meal to a shut-in
Help elderly patients address holiday cards
Put up holiday decorations for a frail or ill person
Care for a pet for a hospice patient
Shovel snow for an elderly neighbor
Prepare a meal for a grieving family
Read holiday stories to patients at a nursing home
Help a hospice patient find gifts to give to loved ones
Provide childcare for a family dealing with grief or illness
No matter how you spend the upcoming holidays (Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza), or with whom you celebrate, may you have an abundance of light and joy and love in your life. Many blessings to you and those you love!
Marggie Hatala – author and teacher of a writing class related to end of life; her books are “Sally: A Memoir” and the forthcoming “Life as Prayer”; learn more at www.marggiehatala.com
Next she begins the Update for September by talking about the new documentary film currently streaming on Neflix: Extremis, which won 1st place at the Tribeca Film Festival. Please see this film which takes place in the ICU at Highland Hospital in Oakland and features Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter. This is a must-see film that brilliantly depicts the conundrum that exists at the end of life when painful decisions must be made. By showing the real-life conversations that take place in the ICU between staff, family members and patients, a case is made for everyone to complete their advance directives and prepare their loved ones to honor their wishes at the end of life. But the painful process of decision-making becomes apparent as each individual struggles with the unknown and the unknowable in these dire situations.
The other topics covered this month include:
BMJ Online report that patients who receive hospice care for the last 6 months of life have better pain control, fewer hospital days, and are less likely to die in the hospital or ICU.
Researchers at John Hopkins found that their palliative care program led to savings of ~ $19 million over 5 years in addition to improved quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Study originally published in Health Affairs and reported on Reuters online showed gaps in palliative care in the US. Read the article.
“What it feels like to die,” an article in The Atlantic discusses the active dying process from the patient’s perspective. Read the article.
Friends and Family Letter Project by Dr. VJ Periyakoil at Stanford includes 7 prompts for letter writers to leave messages for their loved ones. Read the article.
“7 Songs for a Long Life” documentary from Scotland that depicts how terminally ill patients use singing as therapy. Read the article.
The Friendly Atheist Julie Stahl reminds us not to impose our own religious or spiritual beliefs on those who are grieving and may not share your perspective. Read her blog.
Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! I hope you enjoy this information. If you feel inspired to offer a little support go to Patreon.com/eolu to join the community!
It’s the end of August and time for another End of Month Update on the End-of-Life. Today Dr. Wyatt discusses the following stories from the news and social media:
Baycrest Health Sciences reported a study that ongoing mental stimulation for the elderly can counteract the contribution of the Western diet toward cognitive decline
Some hospitals are creating Acute Care for Elders units to ensure that the elderly receive focused care that will enable them to return to a functional level and be able to return home. There are ~200 such units in the US right now.
UCLA’s Geriatric unit has found significant overmedication of their elderly patients and has hired a pharmacist to help adjust medications for their patients – reported in Washington Post
CMS encouraging states to use Medicaid dollars to pay for in-home care for their elderly rather than nursing home stays
Pilot Study shows that offering intensive education for in-home caregivers helps decrease ER visits and hospitalizations
Illinois law regulates training standards for Alzheimer’s caregivers
Revised “Demoralization Scale” for evaluating patients decline in morale during cancer treatment
Patients who use emotional support and acceptance as coping strategies have increased quality of life, decreased anxiety and depression compared to patients who resort to denial and self-blame
Story of Disney Princess Party held for the daughter of a young mother who is dying of brain cancer
Story of California woman with ALS who held a 2-day “going away” party before using the assisted dying law to end her life
Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! Remember you can support this show and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on Patreon.com/eolu.
In this episode Dr. Wyatt addresses the Western tendency to deny and avoid the subjects of aging and death. But first she announced the upcoming release of her latest book “The Tao of Death” – an adaptation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching through the perspective of death (it’s awesome!) The book should be available for sale as an ebook by the end of this month so stay tuned. If you’d like to be notified when the book goes on sale sign up for the email list at www.eoluniversity.com and you’ll get an email notification (and a significant discount!)
Next she thanks her newest Patreon sponsor, Holly Randall, for her support of EOLU. If you would like to be mentioned on the podcast go to www.Patreon.com/eolu and make a $1 or $2 per month donation to say “Thank you” for EOLU and help defray the expense of creating the interview series and this podcast.
Today’s episode is sponsored by Irina Jordan and Artisurn.com. Irina has a free gift for everyone of a special coloring ebook called “Coloring Through Grief.” You can download and print the coloring pages (they’re beautiful, by the way!) at http://tinyurl.com/artisurnor go to: http://www.artisurn.com/pages/coloring-through-grief-free-coloring-ebook. These coloring pages are FREE and when you download them you’ll also receive a special promo code for a 10% discount on a handmade cremation urn from Artisurn. Get the coloring pages now – it’s really fun and relaxing to color!
In today’s chat Dr. Wyatt talks about some steps we can all take to help shift our own and our society’s mindset about aging and death. She will talk about:
Seeing through the false messages of youthfulness and anti-aging that are prevalent in advertising and marketing
How to see the beauty in aging
How to embrace your own mortality with grace and dignity
Three pillars of a new mindset about death:
Every living thing ultimately dies
Life is precious because it is fleeting
Each of us must find our own meaning in life and death
If you enjoy this episode you probably know someone else who would like it too so please share! Also remember to go to Patreon.com to check out the EOLU donation page, stay tuned for “The Tao of Death” and listen in every Monday for a new episode!
Today Dr. Karen Wyatt discusses some ideas for building a support community for end-of-life workers and people interested in death and dying. Working in this field can be rather lonely at times as our society still fears and avoids the subject of death. But we need a network of support around us in order to do this challenging work. So here are some ideas for creating our own community of support:
Attend a Death Cafe. Learn more and out if there is a Death Cafe in your area by searching the Death Cafe website: www.DeathCafe.com
If there is no face-to-face Death Cafe in your area consider calling in by telephone to the Virtual Death Cafe, which generally meets on the 2nd Sunday of each month. Learn more at www.eoluniversity.com/death-cafe
Start your own Death Cafe. If you feel inclined to become a Death Cafe host (no specific training is required) you might want to start your own and truly benefit your community. Get completes Guidelines for starting a Death Cafe at www.DeathCafe.com/how
Use Social Media sites to get connected with others:
On Facebook search for these pages or public groups (then “Like” the page or ask to become a member of the group): Slow Medicine, Afterlife Awareness, Death Cafe, Death Midwifery in Canada, End-of-Life University, Death Expo
Linked-In: search for groups based on interests such as Hospice, Palliative Care, Chaplain Services, Grief, End-of-Life
Twitter: follow hashtags like #EOL #hpm #eolchat #dwd #eolcare #funeralplanning #deathcafe #hospice (depending on your interests)
Start a death and dying Meetup Group. You can create your own curriculum for a meetup (unlike Death Cafe that has no agenda) and include films, speakers, panel discussions, field trips. Go to www.Meetup.com to see if there is already a meetup in your area or to start one of your own.
Join an organization. I highly recommend that you look into joining the National Home Funeral Alliance, which offers free registration, monthly conference calls and an annual face-to-face conference. You don’t have to be a home funeral guide to join and you will find many, many like-minded people there! Learn more about the NHFA at www.homefuneralalliance.org
Today’s focus is on advance care planning as Dr. Wyatt shares an interview with Kimberly Paul of Lower Cape Fear Hospice, who is the creator of the Begin the Conversation Workbook and Toolkit. You’ll learn about National Healthcare Decisions Day and Dr. Wyatt’s 10-Day SMART Decisions Challenge, which you can join for free at www.eoluniversity.com/challenge and get your own advance directives done with Dr. Wyatt’s guidance.
In the interview Kimberly will share:
How the BTC Toolkit can be used to introduce the concept of Advance Care Planning to people of all ages
The 7 step process recommended in the BTC Workbook
How Begin the Conversation differs from other advance care planning resources
Today Dr. Karen Wyatt discusses several “Action Steps” you can take in your own community to help improve end-of-life care. Change begins with the individual and if you want to ensure that your own dying is handled with respect and dignity then you should start now to help implement change. This podcast offers tangible steps you can take–some are easy, some will require a lot more effort–to get your community talking about and making changes in how death and dying are managed. Some of the tips include:
Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews Dr. Mitch Metzner, founder and CEO of Anam Cara, a social model hospice house in California. In this interview you will learn:
-the history of the non-medical social model for hospice care
-the difference between the non-medical social model and the medical inpatient model of hospice care
-how to overcome community resistance to neighborhood hospice care
-guidelines for starting a social model hospice house
-how Anam Cara is meeting the challenges of being a small stand-alone non-profit organization