End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice

Ep. 69 How To Brighten Your Holidays by Making a Difference for Someone Else

 

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!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 67: Compassion and Choices at the End of Life with Arline Hinckley

 

In honor of the Medical Aid in Dying  Law that passed in the state of Colorado in November, Dr. Karen Wyatt features a interview with special guest Arline Hinckley, Secretary of the Board and Client Support Volunteer for Compassion and Choices of Washington. They will discuss the Death With Dignity laws that are currently in effect in Washington and Oregon and under consideration in several other states across the country.

You will learn:

  • Why physician assisted “suicide” is not considered an accurate term
  • The end-of-life options offered to patients during a consultation with Compassion and Choices
  • The process patients must follow to utilize the Death With Dignity law
  • The statistics for Washington: how many people actually seek assistance with dying and how many follow through
  • How Death With Dignity laws can offer peace and reassurance to dying patients

Until next week remember that you can support this podcast by going to Patreon.com/eolu to contribute $1 or $2 per month AND …

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, Grief, Hospice

Ep. 65 Changing the Perspective on Death: Highlights from Death Expo 2016

meaningchangede

 

 

In this episode Dr. Karen Wyatt shares her favorite “take-aways” from the 12 presentations of the recent Death Expo event. If you missed Death Expo you can still purchase the recordings from the event for just $36 (which is a great price for 12 hours of education.)  Go to this link to learn more. The speakers she highlights are:

Enjoy these highlights! If you feel inspired, consider purchasing the Collection!

Also visit the Patreon.com/eolu page if you’d like to become a supporter! As always:

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.

 

Aging, End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief

Ep. 57 September End-of-Month Update and film Extremis

 

In today’s episode Dr. Wyatt thanks 3 new supporters on Patreon.com/eolu:

  • Joan Roellchen-Pfohl, RN
  • Martha Johnson – author of the upcoming book “Take Charge of the Rest of Your Life”; learn more at www.meetmarthajohnson.com
  • 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!

Until next week remember:

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!

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 51 The Truth About Advance Directives from a Doctor’s Perspective

In this episode Dr. Wyatt thanks her supporter Cathy Zheutlin who is a film producer currently making a documentary called “Living While Dying.” If you would like to support this podcast go to Patreon.com/eolu where you can make a donation of $1 or $2 per month to help defray the expenses of the podcast. Your name will be mentioned on the podcast as a thank you!

Dr. Wyatt discusses Advance Directives from a doctor’s point of view and relates stories about situations involving “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of this legal paperwork. The discussion includes:

  • AD’s are legal forms best applied to long-term situations and  can be helpful to prevent or terminate life-supporting care that is actually prolonging suffering and the dying process
  • we may wish that having AD’s in place will give us some measure of control over the circumstances of our death, but this is often not the case – there are many scenarios in which wishes cannot be carried out
  • AD’s are no substitute for having conversations with loved ones about our end-of-life wishes
  • be sure to communicate your wishes with everyone who might have a stake or concern about your dying process – make sure everyone hears the same message
  • update your loved ones whenever your wishes change
  • face your own fears of dying and of being kept alive in order to be extremely clear about your wishes – revisit these thoughts frequently
  • recognize that in the end circumstances may be out of everyone’s control and your wishes may not be followed. Find peace with that scenario and help alleviate any guilt your loved ones might carry if your wishes are not met.

Tune in next week for another episode of EOLU! Sign up for the End-of-Life University Interview series – 2 new interviews each month about all aspects of death and dying. Register here to be notified when the next interview is available.

Until next week:

Face Your Fears.          BE Ready.           Love Your Life.

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 39 Why It’s Important to Think About Death with Karen Wyatt MD

In this episode Dr. Wyatt shares her thoughts about why each of us should think and talk about death long before we are dying. But before that she discusses her recent speaking tour with presentations at the Afterlife Awareness Conference in St. Louis MO and the Conscious Dying Panel Discussion she moderated; the New Death & Dying Event in Minneapolis MN and an additional speaking event in Rochester MN.

You can support this podcast by donating to Patreon.com/eolu. This week the featured patron is Jim Erskine, creator of the Expired “card game for mortals,” who will be soon be launching a Kickstarter campaign for the game. To become a featured patron just go to Patreon.com/eolu and make a small donation!

For those who are reluctant to talk or think about death, here are 5 compelling reasons why it’s important to do so:

  • Preserve your financial legacy
  • Protect your minor children
  • Get the kind of care you want at the end-of-life (or be protected from care you don’t want)
  • Be remembered as you would like to be by your loved ones
  • Lessen the stress for your loved ones

Leave comments and reviews on iTunes to help this podcast get noticed, share with your friends, and become a patron (if you are so inclined.)

Meanwhile, remember to:

Face Your Fears.      BE Ready.       Love Your Life.

 

 

 

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 38 What You Need to Know About the Afterlife with Rev. Terri Daniel

Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews Rev. Terri Daniel, an ordained interfaith minister and hospice chaplain, who shares a metaphysical perspective on death and the afterlife. In this interview you will learn:

  • Terri’s thoughts on “radical mysticism” and how it pertains to death and dying
  • how her personal experience with grief led her to become involved with end-of-life care
  • about the Afterlife Awareness Conference and why you should attend
  • why death needs to come “out of the closet” in hospitals and ICU’s

Keep an open mind and tune in to this discussion about the possibility that life does not end with the death of the physical body. Be sure to subscribe to End-of-Life University Interview Series so you can get email notification each time a new interview is broadcast.

Also check out the EOLU donation page at Patreon.com/eolu and consider making a small donation ($1 or $2 per month) to help support these interviews and podcasts!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 34 Begin the Conversation with Kimberly Paul

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
  • How to access the tools offered by BTC

Learn more about BTC at www.begintheconversation.org

Sign up for End-of-Life University at www.eoluniversity.com or by texting EOLU to 38470.

Remember to check out the Patreon page for this podcast and make a donation if it suits you at www.patreon.com/eolu

Thanks for listening! Take care and get your advance directives done!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 30 Prison Terminal: A Film About Hospice in Prisons with Edgar Barens

Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews Edgar Barens who is the director of the documentary film “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall.” The film focuses on hospice care being offered to a dying inmate at the Iowa State Penitentiary, where fellow inmates help provide care to the sick and dying. This film would be an excellent selection for a community-wide film series and discussion group.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • the process of creating this film and what motivated Edgar Barens to take on such a project
  • the aging prison population and the need for hospice care in prisons
  • the prison hospice model and how it differs from traditional hospices
  • the use of fellow prisoners as volunteer caregivers

Website: http://www.prisonterminal.com

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Uncategorized

Ep. 16 Getting the Best Care Possible at the End of Life with Ira Byock MD

Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews palliative care physician Dr. Ira Byock about his vision for improving care at the end-of-life.

This interview will focus on:
-Defining the “best care possible” for you and your loved ones
-Why preparation for end-of-life care is important
-How to advocate with your healthcare providers for the quality of care you want

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 13 Death Midwifery and Bedside Singing with Pashta Marymoom

Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews Pashta Marymoon, a death midwife, home funeral guide and bedside singer about her work.

In this interview you will learn:

-what “bedside singing” is and how it can be used for patients in the dying process
-how patients benefit from bedside singing
-about the Post-Death Care at Home Video Series that can be used to help educate home caregivers
-what the “pan-death continuum” means and why it is important

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 06 Five Wishes for the End-of-Life

This interview is with Paul Malley, President of Aging With Dignity, a national non-profit organization that created the Five Wishes document for recording end-of-life preferences. In this interview you will learn:
-Why, how and when you should create an advance directive
-The most important question addressed by an advance directive, especially Five Wishes
-How to talk to your loved ones about your wishes at the end-of-life

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 05 Leave a Written Legacy for Your Loved Ones

Join Dr. Wyatt and her guest Nanette Randall for this interview to learn:
-Why creating a personal history to leave for your loved ones is important
-What you can do now to begin preserving your stories and life wisdom for the people you love
-Options for sharing your stories and getting professional writing help if needed

Hospice, Spirituality

Two Months to Live

As I write this my friend has just left the doctor’s office and returned to her part-time home in our community. She has learned in the last few moments that her cancer has recurred and is rapidly growing in her abdomen. For the next two days she will be packing up her belongings and loading the car for a long road-trip back home, where she will have to tell her family her shocking news: she is expected to live for just a few more months.

The calendar slips from her hands, along with her plans for the rest of the year: a college reunion during the summer, an autumn trip to Europe, a journal article she planned to write, a research project she intended to complete …

Everything has changed now. She moves slowly through the mundane motions of this day, in dazed confusion: folding the laundry, organizing the grocery list, sweeping the floor … But wait, does it matter? Does any of this matter?

She sorts through the belongings in her home, one-by-one: a book (I’ve read this three times), a teapot (My mother-in-law gave this to me), an old sweater (I got this on our trip to Alaska), and photographs … so many photographs. Each item surveyed and analyzed. Do these things really matter?

She is talking too quickly now, her mind jumping from subject to subject, trying to avoid the looming, inevitable reality that will overshadow and consume everything in its path over the next few weeks. Her conversation seems almost nonsensical to me as I struggle to grasp what is going through her mind at this moment.

She is all alone now. She has entered a place where her family and friends, no matter how close they are, cannot go. As a hospice physician I have walked this path with many patients in the past. And though the scenery has varied with each person, I have noticed certain landmarks throughout each  journey.

I cannot change my friend’s path or take away her suffering. I can only wait with her and watch and pray. For these coming days I shall look through her eyes and feel through her heart, observing life and all its oddities; noticing, while looking back from the perspective of death, what of this life really matters?