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!
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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.
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