EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 258 The Heart of Hospice: Supporting the End-of-Life Journey with Helen Bauer and Jerry Fenter

Learn about the issues facing hospice care in the US and how the “heart” of hospice is essential for end-of-life care.

My guests today, Helen Bauer RN and Jerry Fenter, are the hosts of the popular podcast The Heart of Hospice. Having worked as a hospice nurse and hospice chaplain, these two are passionate about offering education and support to anyone who needs information about end-of-life care. Their projects include advance care planning, resources for professional and personal caregivers, and consultations with hospices about staff education. Learn more about their work at their website:

www.theheartofhospice.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why Helen and Jerry started The Heart of Hospice
  • The challenge of educating the public and medical professionals about the benefits of hospice care
  • How COVID-19 is impacting hospice care right now
  • Other difficulties facing hospice care in the US
  • Reasons to be hopeful about the future of hospice
  • Self-care tips for professional and personal caregivers
  • The importance of memorial services for hospice staff to process grief
  • Resources available from their website

POEM: Compassion by Miller Williams

"Have compassion for everyone you meet 
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, 
bad manners or cynicism is always a sign 
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. 
You do not know what wars are going on 
down there where the spirit meets the bone.”

From -  Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection - 
edited by James Crews

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 238 A Death Lived: A Doctor’s Memoir of Her Husband’s End of Life with Martha Calihan MD

A doctor learns about death by caring for her husband at the end of his life.

My guest Dr. Martha Calihan has been a practicing physician for over 30 years but she didn’t learn about the end of life until she became a caregiver for her ill husband. She shares how she navigated those challenging days and how being a caregiver made her a better doctor. She is the author of A Death Lived – a memoir of her end-of-life journey with her husband Charles. Learn more at her website:

www.fivestoneswellness.com

Get the book here.

Listen here:

A Death Lived with Martha Calihan MD

This episode includes:

  • How an Integrative medical provider differs from a conventionally-trained physician
  • The challenges of playing dual roles of wife and physician
  • What doctors can do better to help patients and families navigate the end of life
  • Making medical decisions when the patient’s health status is constantly changing
  • The freedom that comes from “speaking the unspeakable”
  • One valuable question doctors need to ask caregivers: “If you come home and [your loved one] is unresponsive, do you know what you would do?”
  • Tips for having the “death talk” with loved ones
  • How to decide when it’s time to say no to medical interventions
  • The gift of Near Death Awareness and how it helps with fear and grief

It’s more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Charles’ last words – from “A Death Lived”

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Pre-order 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying here
  • Libby app
  • Dr. Calihan’s book: A Death Lived
  • Five Wishes document
  • Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan
  • Join the team at Patreon.com/eolu and get access to the EOLU mug“Mind if we talk about death?” (only Patrons can purchase it). PLUS get our new bonuses: the monthly EOL News Update, movie reviews from 2 Doctors and a Movie, and automatic access to A Year of Reading Dangerously!

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest Patrons:  Molly Oldfield and Lisa Rivera. Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast

Ep. 184 Caring for a Loved One with Dementia with Kathy Flora

Learn some helpful advice for being a caregiver for a patient with dementia.

PodcastFlora

Today I talk with Kathy Flora who has served as her mother’s caregiver as she has journeyed through dementia. Kathy shares her wisdom and advice for those who find themselves in a similar role with a parent or other loved one. She is the author of the book “Walking My Momma Home: Finding Love, Grace, and Acceptance Through the Labyrinth of Dementia.” Learn more at Kathy’s website:

www.kathyflora.com

WalkingMomma

Get the book here.

Listen here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT:

PatreonMugShotNOW! You can get this mug designed exclusively for Patrons of this podcast on Patreon.com/eolu!

“Mind if we talk about death?”

Join our team and you’ll be eligible to purchase the mug!

Support EOLU by signing up today and receive additional special bonuses!

This interview with Kathy Flora includes:

  • How to recognize when an elderly loved one is declining if you live far away
  • How to talk to a loved one about necessary life changes such as giving up driving, managing finances, and living independently
  • The difference between an independent living facility and assisted living
  • How to deal with role reversal as our parents age
  • The “long goodbye of dementia” and coping with anticipatory grief
  • Who should be on a caregiver’s “essential team”
  • How to maintain relationships and communication with siblings who live at a distance
  • The hidden blessings from caring for a loved one with dementia

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially my new patron Kate Riley!

 

EOLPodcast

Ep. 179 How to Conquer Overwhelm as a Family Caregiver with Tandy Elisala

Learn how to cope with all of the ups and downs and challenges of being a caregiver for a loved one.

podcastelisala

My guest Tandy Elisala knows all about the stresses of being a family caregiver having cared for both of her parents while raising 3 children as a single mom. She is the host of the Empowered Family Caregiver Podcast, an author, speaker, and coach and she’ll share her best tips and advice with us today. Learn more at her website:

www.TandyElisala.com

The Complete Caregiver Respite Guide

Quick Start Guide to Conquering Overwhelm

healing-through-the-chaos-2641

Get the book here.

Listen here:

 

This interview includes:

  • The biggest challenges facing family caregivers
  • Owning up to the negative emotions facing caregivers
  • Why some caregivers have trouble asking for help
  • Advice for getting help from others
  • How to move past guilt for not being a “perfect” caregiver
  • What we can learn about being a care receiver
  • Tips for self-care
  • Resources for respite care

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu, especially E. Kiran for upping  your pledge!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 142 It’s Complicated: Mother-Daughter Relationships at the End of Life with Kate Riley

Learn how mothers and daughters cope with their changing roles as the end of life nears.

PodcastRiley

KateRileyIn this episode I share an interview with Kate Riley, author and death midwife, about our own relationships with our mothers and how they changed as we provided care to them at the end of life.  Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there listening!

Learn more about Kate’s work here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Thank you to my latest sponsor on Patreon.com/eolu: Marilyn Stoner. Thank you for support and thanks to all of my patrons – I appreciate your generosity very much!!

This episode is brought to you by my course Get Over it For Good: Healing the Hidden Wounds of Childhood. Learn to get over events from the past that keep you stuck and unable to grow. This is a self-study course that helps you identify your hidden wounds and discover the wisdom you can gain from them. Platinum supporters on Patreon.com/eolu will receive a 30% discount on the course! Learn more about the course here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

My guest Kate Riley and I discuss the joys and challenges of daughters who care for their mothers at the end of life. Kate was the caregiver for her mother during the last 9 months of her life and shares her insights about that process.

In this interview you will learn:

  • The ups and downs of the caregiver journey
  • The benefits of presence at the end of life
  • How meditation helps with preparation for death
  • Death has its own mysterious timing
  • The pain of letting go of our mothers and being let go of by them
  • How caregiving helps us heal our relationships
  • Advice for daughters caring for their mothers

Kate Riley is a certified death midwife, minister, international story consultant, author and educator. She began private practice in compassionate end-of-life care after completing hospice training in the late 1980s. She serves as a liaison for individuals facing end-of-life decisions, working with their families and medical teams in providing a more person-centered approach. She encourages and supports those who want to take a conscious, active role in their own dying process. She is the author of The Green Velvet Journals and Launching Vee’s Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale. Kate lives in the Wood River Valley of Idaho—a great place to find balance in all of life’s stages. Her advanced training includes death midwife/doula certification through Final Passages and current enrollment in the California State University Palliative Care Chaplaincy program.

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week:

Face Your Fear         BE Ready         Love Your Life

karen-signature

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 98 The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for Caregivers and Health Professionals

Learn how to get started with your own practice of mindfulness and enjoy improved health in body, mind and spirit.

PodcastMindfulness

giagem.jpg
In this episode my guest Gia George, who is a yoga and meditation teacher, will tell us why and how to start a simple meditation practice. You’ll learn what you need to know to get started with mindfulness and maintain a routine that will help with stress and life’s challenges. Visit Gia’s website at divinelygia.com.

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is supported through generous contributions on my page at Patreon.com/eolu. If you would like to chip in $1 or $2 per month you’ll receive access to our monthly “Hospice Happy Hour Hangouts” and I will promote your EOL-related book, business, organization, or website on the podcast. THANK YOU to all of my Patreon supporters! You make this podcast possible!

In this interview you will learn:

  • The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of a mindfulness meditation practice
  • How meditation can specifically benefit those in the caregiving and healthcare professions
  • Why meditation is actually a form of “listening prayer”
  • How to begin if you’ve never meditated before
    • When to meditate
    • Frequency
    • How to sit
    • Dealing with thoughts
    • Avoiding self-judgment
    •  Maintaining the practice
  • How “guided meditation” can be a good way to get started
  • Being mindful during every day activities to improve focus and relieve stress

ZenQuestGuidedCheck out Gia’s Zen Quest Guided Meditation CD if you’d like some help getting your practice started:

Zen Quest: Guided Meditations, Healing Journeys is a compilation of 7 guided meditations, each 10-minutes in length. These vision quests take you on relaxing journeys through your mind, heart, and soul, as you explore the healing metaphors and symbols of the Universe. Each meditation is rich with hidden gems of wisdom, woven through a beautiful quest. Go to this link to listen to samples and purchase the CD if you are interested: Guided Meditation CD

Watch Gia’s FREE weekly meditation videos on YouTube: Meditation Monday

Tune in every Monday to a new episode! Until the next time remember:

Face Your Fears.                   BE Ready.                   Love Your Life.

karen-signature

SaveSave

SaveSave

EOLPodcast

Ep. 71 The Death-Positive Movement: Trends and Goals for 2017

It’s a brand new year! Let’s look ahead and see what’s possible in 2017!

blogtemplate2017

In today’s episode of the podcast we’ll look ahead at the coming year, study the trends in the death-positive movement and discover where it might be possible to create new volunteer and career opportunities for ourselves and our communities in 2017.

First I’ll share my own goals for the coming year, which include revising, editing and publishing the two books I wrote in 2016. I also plan to release two new training courses this spring and have lined up a fascinating group of speakers for the End-of-Life University Interview Series. To stay up-to-date on all the latest interviews and offering from EOLU, be sure to to sign up for the mailing list here.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the contributors to this podcast on supportonpatreon-e1412764908776Patreon.com/eolu. Your support helps pay for the expenses of creating this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series. If you’d like to become a patron just go to Patreon.com/eolu and sign up to contribute just $1 or $2 per month.

Here are some of the Trends I’ll be watching in 2017:

  1. Increasing number of Palliative Care Programs in hospitals across the country. Though many of the current programs are either understaffed or underfunded, these problems are likely to be corrected in the near future. To meet current standards, each palliative care team must have a chaplain and a social worker so if you have training in either of those fields you might find employment opportunities in a palliative care program in your community.
  2. Need for creative solutions for hospice care. Because for-profit hospices are taking over many of the smaller non-profit hospices there is a risk that uninsured patients or those with needs for expensive care might be turned away. There is a need for social-model hospices (see Episode 23) and possibly for community-based non-profit, non-Medicare-certified organizations that can help bridge gaps in services for hospice patients. Here are some recommended training programs for becoming an end-of-life doula or midwife:
    1. Sebastopol CA: Jerrigrace Lyons http://finalpassages.org
    2. Austin Texas: Donna Belk (Online training program): http://beyondhospice.com
    3. Austin Texas: Deanna Cochran http://www.qualityoflifecare.com
    4. Ann Arbor Michigan: Merrilyn Rush and Patty Brennan http://center4cby.com This training starts right away – Feb. 3-5, 2017
    5. Calgary Canada: Sarah Kerr http://soulpassages.ca/about/
    6. New York and online: Suzanne B. O’Brien RN: http://www.doulagivers.com
  3. Need for more caregivers. As baby boomers age and approach the end-of-life the caregiver shortage will become a much greater issue. Opportunities will exist to create caregiver training and support services in communities and even to start businesses that employ caregivers.
  4. Community outreach can help support the changes that are slowly occurring in the healthcare system. One of the best ways to encourage change in healthcare is to empower consumers to demand changes from their physicians. This will require outreach and education in the community. Here are some ideas for outreach and links to learn more from previous podcasts:
    1. Plan a community end-of-life event.
    2. Start a Death Cafe.
    3. Plan an EOL Film Festival.
    4. Start an EOL Book Club. Get a list of potential books here.
  5. Create an “Inreach” for members of the EOL community by starting a discussion group, networking event or collaboration opportunity for those who are already working in this arena.
  6. Bring volunteer movements to your community. Consider starting a group of volunteer caregivers who can provide respite care for family caregivers or start your own chapter of Threshold Choir, Twilight Brigade, or No One Dies Alone.
  7. Provide education for your community either as a voluntary act of service or as a paid instructor. Here are some possible ideas:
    1. Assist people to correctly complete their advance directives.
    2. Teach a community class on death and dying.
    3. Train caregivers.
    4. Teach about green burial, promote a natural burial ground in your community, help people access green burial supplies
    5. Educate the community about their rights to a home funeral

I hope these ideas inspire your own personal goals for 2017! Stay connected with me and keep tuning in to the podcast. Let me know your own inspirations and plans for the New Year by adding your comments.

Until next week ….

Face Your Fears.              BE Ready.             Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 68 Holiday Gift Guide for Those Coping With Death and Bereavement

 

This week Dr. Wyatt shares ideas for holiday gifts that are appropriate for caregivers, patients, and the bereaved. Those of us who work with dying patients and bereaved families believe it is important to deal with death openly and frankly, rather than trying to hide or deny the reality that we are all going to die some day. By choosing a gift that acknowledges death you can help foster a healthier approach to the end-of-life in our society and provide an opening for your friend to seek you out for support and conversation.

Here are some “death-aware” gifts that you might consider for various individuals grappling with death and loss this holiday season:

  1. Books: As a reader, books are always one of my favorite gifts to give and receive and there are many that can fit the criteria of “death-aware”. Here are just a few of those books:
    1. The Legacy Letters by Carew Papritz consists of a series of letters from a dying father to his unborn children. This small book is profound and impactful but not too confronting about death and dying. Since it has a masculine perspective on life and death this would be a great gift for a man who may not resonate with some of the other books listed here.
    2. A Call from Spooner Street by Carol Ascher is a good read for an adult child dealing with the death of an elderly parent.
    3. Connecting the Dots and Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers by Judith London are wonderful books for caregivers of dementia patients.
    4. The Last Adventure of Life by Rev. Maria Hoaglund is full of helpful tips for families dealing with the dying of a loved one at home.
    5. Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley is another wonderful book for families with a loved one nearing death that deals with unique deathbed experiences and communications.
    6. Safe Passage by Molly Fumia is an inspirational little book of daily devotions for one who is grieving.
    7. Turning the Corner on Grief Street by Rev. Terri Daniel is appropriate for someone in the later stages of grief who is ready for a spiritually transformative look at grief.
    8. Home Funeral Ceremonies by Donna Belk and Kateyanne Unullisi is a beautiful book of rituals and ceremonies for a family comfortable with having their loved one die and receive after-death care at home.
    9. What Really Matters by Karen Wyatt MD is a book of stories about hospice patients, their families and the process of discovering what really matters in death as well as life.
    10. Find additional recommended books in Episode 56.
  1. Music Music is a matter of personal preference but here are some lovely choices for those near the end-of-life:
    1. Walking Each Other Home by The Threshold Choir consists of songs appropriate for the bedside of a dying patient.
    2. Rosa Mystica and The Geography of the Soul by Therese Schroeder-Sheker contain beautiful harp and vocal music for the dying produced by her Chalice of Repose Project.
    3. Graceful Passages by Gary Malkin is a combination CD and Gift book with music and the spoken word for anyone exploring the issues of life and death.
  1. Hello Game (formerly called “My Gift of Grace”) This game is a fun and inspirational tool for creating conversations about death and dying. It would be a great gift for a family facing future loss (which actually describes all of our families) who need some help talking about the end-of-life. The questions contained in the game provide a gentle introduction to a difficult subject.
  1. Memory Quilt or Pillow Favorite clothing items like T-shirts, ties, skirts or dresses can be used to make beautiful memorial quilts or pillows. This might be a thoughtful gift for someone close to you who is grieving a loved one if you have access to those clothing items.
  1. Ceremonial Supplies You might package together one of the suggested books or CD’s along with some of these supplies to help families create rituals for the dying process and for grief:
    1. Incense or sage
    2. Essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, lemon, sandalwood, tea tree. Read about aromatherapy for the dying here.
    3. Candles
    4. Handmade paper for writing notes
    5. Journal
  1. Gifts for Caregivers If you know someone caring for a loved one during this holiday season be sure to offer a little extra TLC or support. Stress levels can increase greatly for caregivers at this time of year with an influx of visitors and extra tasks to perform. Here are some thoughtful ideas:
    1. Gift certificate for a massage or “spa day”
    2. Homemade “coupon” book with redeemable certificates for help with errands, housecleaning, laundry, cooking, or respite care
    3. Gift cards for local restaurants that provide home delivery
    4. Punch card for a local yoga studio or gym along with offers of respite care so the caregiver can get away at least once a week
    5. Provide an outing for the patient including transportation and companionship to give the caregiver a break
    6. “Fidget Blanket” for a dementia patient to keep hands occupied
    7. DVD for the patient of a favorite movie or sporting event (especially old musicals, comedies and TV shows from the 1960’s)
    8. CD for the patient of music from the 1940’s and 50’s
    9. Invitation for a “lunch date” for the caregiver along with respite care for the patient
    10. Create a “Memory Book” for the patient of old photos, newspaper clippings and special documents from the past.

These suggestions are just a beginning to help you start thinking creatively about how to give a meaningful and fitting gift to a loved one facing death, dying or grief this holiday season. Spend some time searching for the perfect present that honors death and supports the one experiencing this difficult path.

But remember, there is no substitute for your presence, which is far more important than any other gift you can give. Be willing to spend time with your friend or loved one, even when you don’t know what to say and can do nothing more than sit in silence. Offering your calm and loving attention in the midst of a busy holiday season can be a gift for you, as well.

Wishing you many blessings this holiday season! Go to Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to support this podcast and End-of-Life University. Tune in each Monday for a new episode and remember:

Face Your Fears.                BE Ready.                Love Your Life.

 

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 66: November End of Month Update on the End of Life

In this episode Dr. Wyatt thanks her latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu, Suzanne O’Brien RN, founder of Doulagivers. If you would like to help support this podcast and End-of-Life University Interview Series for the small contribution of $1 or $2 per month, go to Patreon.com/eolu and sign up to become a supporter!

In other personal news, Dr. Wyatt just reached the 50,000 word goal on her novel-writing challenge for the month of November! Stay tuned for more information on Starry Night,  a novel about living and dying!

Go to DeathExpo.com if you are interested in getting the downloadable filed from Death Expo 2016. Tune in to Episode 65 to hear the highlights and take-aways from this fantastic educational event!

Next Dr. Wyatt shares the latest news and information about end-of-life issues that caught her eye during the month of November:

  • Survey of seniors in the U.S. shows that 27% have done absolutely no planning or preparing for the end of life. Those least likely to have prepared correlate with the following characteristics: age between 65-74, black or Hispanic, low-income, low education level, and diagnosis of Alzheimers.
  • Canadian study shows that for seniors who have completed Advance Directives, Values and Choices do not always align, showing a lack of guidance for choosing end-of-plans and confusion about basing choices on underlying values
  • a paper cited in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management calls for improved consistency in honoring the EOL choices of patients in nursing homes and hospitals
  • Go Wish Card Game found helpful for patients completing their advance directives; helps them identify their values and priorities
  • Home-based Palliative Care shown to lower healthcare expenses in last year and 3 months of life, decrease hospital admissions and increase hospice utilizations. 87% of patients who receive palliative care at home are able to die at home, compared to only 24% of all Medicare patients who die at home
  • Review  of 43 palliative care clinical studies shows that palliative care improves quality of life but does not extend life
  • UC Santa Cruz has started a program to pair pre-med students with hospice patients
  • Study shows doctors are reluctant to discontinue routine medications that are no longer indicated for their patients at the end of life due to lack of awareness, low priority, and fear of causing patient to feel abandoned
  • Colorado became 6th state in the U.S. to approved medically aided dying during the November election
  • AARP and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging have a launched a campaign to identify seniors suffering with loneliness and isolation in order to connect them with community resources; 43% of seniors report loneliness which leads to medical consequences
  • new movie Collateral Beauty deals with grief and death and will be released on Dec. 16th
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died on November 7th at the age of 82

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! Subscribe and leave reviews on iTunes by going here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990 

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                       Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 62 October End-of-Month Update – Halloween Edition

 

Dr. Wyatt thanks her newest Patreon.com supporter Tracy Zagata. You can become a supporter as well by going to Patreon.com/eolu and signing up!

Sign up for Death Expo which will take place Nov. 10-13, and hear 12 speakers on EOL issues. Go to DeathExpo.com to register free to tune in to these excellent presentations.

This episode is taking place on Halloween and the Day of the Dead. Dr. Wyatt includes the following updates:

  • CMS report 52% increase in Medicare spending on hospice between 2007 and 2015 due to 38% increase in the number of patients receiving hospice care, primarily patients with dementia
  • the DEA is mandating 34% decrease in opioid production due to dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths since 1999 – rate has quadrupled during that time frame
  • JAMA Oncology reports that the cost of secobarbital, the drug most frequently prescribed in assisted dying cases, has increased by $25oo; there is no explanation except that drug companies can get away with it
  • California is the first state to require that palliative care teams have a chaplain for those patients who want to receive spiritual care
  • Debra Beaulieu writes in HealthLeaders Media that all clinicians should know the following about palliative care: 1) that it’s not just for dying patients 2) that it is often underutilized and 3) all clinicians should have basic palliative care skills
  • Study in J. Palliative Med showed that home-based palliative care (as opposed to hospital-based care) meets more of patients’ needs in the last 3 months of life and costs $12,000 less per patient
  • Controversial “doll therapy” for dementia patients
  • Study shows that 11% of female caregivers over the age of 50 have to leave their employment to fulfill caregiver duties, costing $300,000 in lost wages, benefits, and Social Security over time
  • Census data reveals that currently 25% of seniors are considered “Elder Orphans,” meaning that they have no children or close family to care for them; these numbers will only grow as Baby Boomers age, reinforcing the need for more caregivers
  • Medicare Care Choice Pilot Program is currently underway; patients can receive home-hospice care while continuing curative treatments if they have a diagnosis of cancer, COPD, CHF, or HIV; there are 140 participating hospices in the program
  • Survey shows that 1/2 of MS patients would consider medically assisted dying in the case of unbearable pain, being a financial burden to others, or if unable to enjoy what makes life worth living
  • Study reveals the 69% of MOLST or POLST forms have incomplete information and 14% have conflicting choices, making them nearly impossible for care providers to follow
  • the nation’s first conference on VSED was held in October at the Seattle U. School of Law and was featured in an article in the NY Times. Phyllis Shacter was a speaker – you can hear her EOLU interview in episode 25
  • Conversation Sabbath will take place November 11-20 with >30 congregations from various faiths participating; the focus will be on EOL conversations and theconversationproject.org will provide tools and resources for the event
  • Andrew Henderson, 28 year old performance artist who is terminally ill has created an art performance called Taking it to the Grave and will tattoo the secrets of his audience on his body before he dies
  • Miss Norma, the 90 year old woman who chose to go on a cross-country RV tour with her son and daughter-in-law rather than undergo treatment for cancer, has died

Have a safe and meaningful Day of the Dead! Tune in every Monday for a new episode and support EOLU at Patreon.com/eolu. Until next week remember to:

Face Your Fears.                 BE Ready.                Love Your Life.

 

EOLPodcast

Ep. 60 How to Nourish Yourself While Caring for Someone Else with Nina Manolson

Today Dr. Wyatt shares an interview from the EOLU archives with health and nutrition coach Nina Manolson. She discusses how to eat a healthy diet even when you are super-busy with life and work as a caregiver.

Reminder to sign up for Death Expo which takes place November 10-13, 2016. There will be 12 speakers in 4 days and it’s all free! Go to DeathExpo.com to register so you will receive emails about this event.

In this interview you will learn:

  • how a “green smoothie” can energize your day and change your life
  • healthy, easy snacks for busy caregivers
  • a simple daily strategy for healthy eating
  • how to stock your pantry and refrigerator for quick and healthy meals

Enjoy these tips for healthy eating and take good care of yourself! Until next week remember to:

Face Your Fears.          BE Ready.           Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 59 How to Avoid ‘Compassion Fatigue’ for Caregivers and End-of-Life Workers

This week Dr. Karen Wyatt addresses ‘compassion fatigue,’ which is an occupational hazard for those who care for others who are suffering emotionally or physically.

Death Expo is coming up November 10-13, 2016 and you can register by going to DeathExpo.com. There will be 12 speakers on various aspects of death, dying and bereavement, so be sure to sign up for this FREE virtual conference!

You can help support EOLU by going to Patreon.com/eolu and making a donation of $1 or $2 per month to help defray the expenses of creating the interview series and this podcast. Thank you to all of the current “Patrons” who are offering their support – it is much appreciated!

Today’s discussion centers around Compassion Fatigue and you will learn:

  • What is compassion fatigue
  • Who is susceptible to compassion fatigue
  • The signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue
  • Tips to prevent it:
    • Regular exercise
    • Adequate sleep
    • Healthy diet
    • Journaling
    • Deep breathing
    • Mindfulness meditation
    • Witnessing perspective (Galaxy view)
    • Prayer and contemplation
    • Self-love
  • See the links below to get companion resources for this talk

Smoothie recipes: smoothie-recipes

Journaling Starter Kit: journalingstarterkit

Remember to:

Face Your Fears.           BE Ready.             Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 56 End-of-Life Book Showcase!

In this episode Dr. Karen Wyatt highlights several excellent books about the end of life that have been sent to her by their authors. If you have considered starting an end-of-life book club (as mentioned in Episode 33) you’ll find many great books to choose from in this list. Here are the book titles and authors, along with links for learning more or purchasing the books:

  • “My Voice, My Choice: A Practical Guide to Writing a Meaningful Healthcare Directive”; by Anne Elizabeth Denny; www.anneelizabethdenny.com
  • “LastingMatters Organizer: Where Loved Ones Find What Matters Most”; by Barbara Bates Sedoric: www.lastingmatters.com
  • “Caring for Dying Loved Ones: A Helpful Guide for Families and Friends”; by Joanna Lillian Brown; www.caringfordyinglovedones.com
  • “Caregivers: Angels Without Wings”; by Peg Crandall; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement”; by Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Encountering the Edge: What People Told Me Before They Died”; by Karen B. Kaplan; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Spirit Matters: How to Remain Fully Alive with a Life-Limiting Illness”; by Judy Flickinger; www.judyflickinger.com
  • “Spiritual Perspectives on Death & Dying”; by Bernice H. Hill, PhD; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully: A Journey with Cancer and Beyond”; by Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Daddy this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad”; by Julie Saeger Nierenberg; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey Through Grief”; by Elaine Mansfield; www.elainemansfield.com
  • “Laughing in a Waterfall: A Mother’s Memoir”; by Marianne Dietzel; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Turn Right, Good Moon: Conversations With a Dying Mother”; by L. E. Moore; www.turnrightgoodmoon.com
  • “She Would Draw Flowers: Poems from a Young Artist Awakening to Life, Love and Death”; by Kirsten Savitri Bergh; Link to Amazon.com
  • “And Now, Still: Grave & Goofy Poems and a Bit of Prose”; by Reggie Marra; www.reggiemarra.com
  • “Facing Darkness, Finding Light: Life After Suicide”; by Steffany Barton, RN; Link to Amazon.com
  • “What to Do When You’re Dead: A Former Atheist Interviews the Source of Infinite Being”; by Sondra Sneed; Link to Amazon.com

I hope you’ll check out these amazing and inspirational books and include some of them in your book club or add them to your library!

 

Aging, End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 53 August End of Month Update on the End-of-Life

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.

Face Your Fear.         BE Ready.          Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 49 Alzheimer’s Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes with Dr. Judith London

 

Today Dr. Wyatt is inspired to share an interview with Dr. Judith London, a psychologist who cares for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. If you listened to last week’s podcast you heard a mention of “Memory Cafes” that are being held in Minnesota. Dr. London share her own stories and experiences with creating support groups for Alzheimer’s patients.

This interview will cover:

  • why Dr. London was inspired to work with and write about Alzheimer’s patients
  • what are the major challenges faced by caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients
  • tips for caregivers in relating to their loved ones with Alzheimer’s
  • how hospice and palliative care workers can be more supportive of family caregivers

You can learn more about Dr. London’s work at her website: www.drjudithlondon.com.

Remember you can help support EOLU with just a small donation of $1 or $2 per month. Help keep EOLU on the air! Go to www.patreon.com/eolu and become a patron if you are interested.

Until next week:

Face Your Fears.               BE Ready.               Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 44 June End of Month Update on the End-of-Life with Dr. Karen Wyatt

As the month of June comes to an end Dr. Wyatt offers a summary of some of the interesting articles and posts on the end-0f-life that have been published during the month. The discussion includes:

  • A study from UNC showed that 3/4 of younger cancer patients (<65 years of age) with incurable disease receive  high rates of hospitalization and aggressive treatment during the last 30 days of life.
  • Dr. Ira Byock wrote an article “Why Do We Pay for Bad Healthcare” that was published online in STAT News. He questions why we continue to offer care with unproven benefits like feeding tubes in dementia patients and multiple-dose radiation for bone mets (rather than single-dose).
  • A survey of ICU nurses showed that very few are likely to be included in palliative care conversations with patients and their families. Obstacles mentioned are lack of training, not being asked for input by doctors, emotional toll of these discussions.
  • Arcadia Healthcare Solutions report that spending on people who die in a hospital is about 7 times greater than spending on patients who die at home.
  • Measure introduced in Congress by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham to create a national “Care Corps” (similar to Peace Corps) that would train young volunteer caregivers to meet the pending caregiver shortage.
  • Results of recent caregiver survey discussed which shows demographics of current family caregivers.
  • UK Survey reveals concerns of LGBT patients about accessing quality EOL care including fears of discrimination, concerns about getting spiritual needs met, unique family and support network structure, difficulty obtaining grief and bereavement support.
  • Reminder not to post “RIP” on social media sites after a death unless you are certain that family members and loved ones have been notified of the death.
  • Essay by Eric Weiner on his discover that in Bhutanese culture people contemplate their own death 5 times per day (and Bhutan has been named one of the happiest countries on the planet.)
  • Notable deaths in June: Muhammad Ali;  Dr.Dennis McCullough, founder of the Slow Medicine movement; mass shooting on June 12th in Orlando.
  • Tribute to Julianna Snow, 5 y.o. with progressive neurological disease who chose heaven rather than continuing painful treatments for her terminal disease.

Thanks for tuning in to the EOLU Podcast! I’m so honored to be able to share these thoughts and observations about the end-of-life with you.

If you are interested in offering your support to EOLU go to Patreon.com/eolu and contribute just $1 or $2 per month. You’ll receive some special bonuses if you offer your support! Also you can help out by going to iTunes and leaving a review, sharing this podcast with others, and sending me your comments!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 40 May End of Month Update on the End-of-Life with Dr. Karen Wyatt

In this episode Dr. Wyatt begins with a brief discussion about Memorial Day and the need for people to come together and recognize our shared humanity during this time of deep polarization in US society.

Discussion includes:

  • Study in the UK shows group meals for dementia patients lead to better health and quality of life
  • NYC passed a law to protect family caregivers from being terminated from their jobs due to their caregiving duties
  • Journal of Oncology reports that black women with breast cancer are 14% less likely to receive hospice care and 59% more likely to die in the hospital, compared to white women with breast cancer
  • Palliate Guide is a new app for smart phones that contains basic palliative care guidelines and opiate prescribing tools
  • Study done at UCSF shows gap between doctors’ estimations of patient survival rates and surrogates estimates; surrogates were much more optimistic about survival but doctors were more accurate
  • Survey shows nephrologists have difficulty recommending palliative or hospice care for patients with end-stage renal disease and knowing when to withdraw dialysis
  • Early palliative care is associated with less stress and depression for family caregivers later on during the illness
  • Dr. Seamus O’Mahony from Cork University in Ireland has been quoted as saying, regarding end-of-life care: “Our needs are spiritual, not medical.”

Much love to all from Dr. Karen Wyatt! If you enjoy this podcast please consider offering your support on our Patreon page at patreon.com/eolu

Also please leave reviews for this podcast on iTunes and share with your friends who might be interested in this content.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 35 April End of Month Update on the End-of-Life with Dr. Karen Wyatt

Today Dr. Karen Wyatt offers the End of Month Update for April 2016. In this episode she recaps the 10-Day SMART Decisions Challenge for completing your advance directives – if you are interested in still doing the challenge on your own time you can check it out at www.eoluniversity.com/challenge. Also be sure to check out the EOLU page at Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to make a small monthly donation to help keep EOLU on the air (much appreciated!)

Topics discussed in this presentation include:

  • A study showing that the population of people over age 65 will increase to 88million by the year 2050 – meaning there will be a huge need for services for the elderly. Reference to Episode #08: It Takes A Village to Care for the Elderly.
  • New “Affinity-Based” senior living communities are springing up around the country like Chinese-American and Indian-American communities.
  • The Harvard Study of Adult Development, which started in 1938, has shown that relationships are the key to a long happy life.
  • A British study in which the extreme elderly (over the age of 95) were interviewed about death and dying showed that they were at peace with death, ready to go and had talked with their doctors about death, but not their families.
  • A newly released survey of doctors found that they overwhelmingly support new CPT codes that allow for billing for end-of-life conversations and planning with patients but most of them report they are not ready to have these conversations because they have not been trained and don’t know what to say.
  • The Credit for Caring Act is currently being discussed in the US Congress and would provide up to $3000 per year in tax credits for family caregivers.
  • “Presenteeism” is a new term to describe the lack of productivity on the job experienced by family caregivers who are also employed outside the home (which amounts to 20% of Americans.)
  • Reports of funeral ritual behavior from the animal kingdom.
  • Driving Miss Norma – the story of a 90-year-old woman who said “no” to treatment after her cancer was diagnosed and is currently traveling the US in an RV with her son and daughter-in-law.

Be sure to leave comments below, subscribe to the podcast, write reviews, and recommend EOLU to your friends. Looking forward to our next opportunity to chat about the end-of-life!

Check out the website: eoluniversity.com

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 27 February End of the Month Update on the End-of-Life with Dr. Karen Wyatt

In this February Update on End-of-Life Issues, Dr. Wyatt will discuss:

  • Medical schools put more emphasis on pain management education to help reduce over-prescribing of opioid medications, misuse of these drugs and subsequent OD’s, which have doubled in the past decade.
  • Dementia rates appear to be falling in the U.S. according to a recent report in NEJM due to the level of education and improved heart health of the senior population.
  • Prison hospices face a challenge in meeting the needs of dying patients for pain medications due to risks of misuse of meds within the prison walls.
  •  Johns Hopkins study published in JAMA shows impact of stress on family caregivers. New website caretransitions.org has tools and resources for caregivers and also to train “care transitions coaches” who can educate community members on the skills needed to become an effective caregiver. Hopefully this will alleviate some caregiver stress and increase the number of available caregivers.
  • Talk about the newly-released book “When Breath Becomes Air” by 36 y.o. neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi who wrote the book while dying of cancer.
  • Emergency care nurse instituted “The Pause” at a UVa hospital after a death in the ER to show respect and acknowledge the loss of life. Trend is spreading to other hospitals.
  • Similarly a photo circulated on Facebook showing doctors in China bowing to an 11 y.o. boy who asked that, after his death from a brain tumor, his organs be donated to save the lives of others. The medical staff bowed 3 times to honor his bravery and selflessness. Beautiful!
  • Article about homeless people dying on the streets and the need for options to care for those without suitable homes available as they are dying. Discussed the “social model hospice” option. See Episode 23 from February 1st for more info about the social model hospice.
End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 22 End of Month Update on the End-of-Life with Karen Wyatt MD

In this episode from January 25, 2016 Dr. Karen Wyatt does an end-of-month review of news and happenings in the end-of-life arena. Subjects covered include:
-deaths of David Bowie and Stephen Levine and their possible influences on societal acceptance of death and dying
-studies on monthly stipends being paid to post-9/11 caregivers
-Facebook videos of preschool being held in a nursing home and dementia patient caring for a baby doll
-NHPCO infographic showing hospice trends over the past 6 years
-JAMA special issue on death and dying and Atul Gawande’s editorial
-study showing unnecessary screening for breast and prostate cancer in older Americans
-Story from Australia of Pat and Peter who died together in a suicide pact to avoid having to seek out medical care in later life