End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 81 Let’s Talk About It: The Conversation Project with Dr. Jessica McCannon

Find out how The Conversation Project is helping families talk about planning ahead for the end of life.

PodcastConvProject

Jess McCannon HeadshotIn this episode we’ll hear about the work of  The Conversation Project from an advisor to the organization, ICU physician Dr. Jessica McCannon. Learn how to utilize this excellent tool to get your own conversations started.

Get more info at TheConversationProject.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

COLORADO LISTENERS!! You can download a special version of The Conversation Starter Kit that has been customized just for Coloradans. This version is a little shorter and includes a place where you can name your Medical Durable Power of Attorney. Visit this website to download your copy now:

http://TheConversationProjectinBoulder.org

death-afterlifesummit

You can still sign up for the Death & Afterlife Summit, which takes place March 16-18, 2017. You’ll be able to learn from 10 experts about dying, death and beyond in this series of online interviews–and it’s totally FREE! Go to eoluniversity.com/afterlife to learn more and register.

slide01If you’d like some guidance in completing your own advance directives, check out the Step-by-Step Roadmap to End-of-Life Planning–my NEW online self-directed course that will help you prepare and plan for your later years.

Learn more and sign up here.

 

IN THE NEWS:

The Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville AL has started a unique pilot program that places a hospice nurse in the Emergency Department 3 days a week. The RN meets with patients and families and educates them about end-of-life options to help in their decision-making processes. She also helps them complete advance directives and other documents needed for their hospitalization.

THE CONVERSATION PROJECT:

Join Dr. Karen Wyatt and her special guest Dr. Jessica McCannon, ICU physician and advisor to The Conversation Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. They will discuss The Conversation Project, the history and goals of this organization, and how their resources can benefit you, your loved ones or your patients when making plans for the end-of-life.

You will learn:

  • How and why The Conversation Project was started
  • The value of telling stories about the end-of-life
  • Benefits of The Conversation Starter Kit and The Pediatric Starter Kit
  • How doctors might utilize The Conversation Starter Kit

Dr. Jessica McCannon is board-certified in internal medicine, and completed Harvard’s Clinical and Research Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. After completing her internal medicine residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital, she began providing care to adults at the Mass General Hospital Down Syndrome Program. Prior to starting medical training she received her BA from Cornell University. Dr. McCannon currently practices clinical medicine as an ICU physician and serves as an advisor to The Conversation Project.

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776Tune in each Monday for a new episode. If you are interested in supporting the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series you can make a small contribution of just $1 or $2 a month and help keep us on the air! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

Until next week remember ….

Face Your Fears.                 BE Ready.                    Love Your Life.

karen-signature

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 79 The Death-Positive Mindset: How to Create and Share It

The term “death-positive” is everywhere these days. But what does it mean and how do we spread this mindset through our society?

podcastdeathpositive

In this episode I’ll share thoughts from a recent blog post about how to make sure your own death mindset  is clear and free of hidden wounds. These simple practices will help you stay on track as you do your work in the world.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

slide01The Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning Course is now available if you need any help with your own advance care planning paperwork. You can learn more at this link:

http://www.eoluniversity.com/roadmap

 

death-afterlifesummitRegister now for the Death & Afterlife Summit, which will talk place on March 16-18, 2017. You’ll be able to hear presentations from 10 speakers on dying, death and beyond for FREE. Replays will be available if you can’t attend live. Learn more and register at this link: http://www.eoluniversity.com/afterlife

IN THE NEWS:

A Dutch nursing home is offering college students free rent in exchange for spending 30 hours per month with residents of the home. The students teach the elders how to use technology and get valuable experience connecting with the older generation. The expected benefits for the residents are decreased dementia symptoms, decreased loneliness and isolation, and increased life expectancy. A similar study is being conducted in the UK where students read poetry to nursing home residents, which has led to improved memory skills. We need programs like this in the US!

THE DEATH-POSITIVE MINDSET:

Read the original article here.

In order to help our society achieve a death-positive mindset we must tend to our thoughts and personal awareness of death. Even though we may work with the deaths of others on a daily basis, we can still be in denial of our own mortality. Here are some steps to take to ensure that your own death mindset is as free as possible of denial and fear:

  • Address your fears of death. Learn to live with your fear but not be controlled by it.
  • Explore your past experiences of grief. Process your old, unhealed losses and gradually work to release the pain you carry.
  • Challenge your misperceptions about death. Stop seeing death as sorrowful and learn to see that death can be both beautiful and tragic.
  • Change your language. Free yourself of “tragic-speak” and use non-negative language when describing death. Beware of overly positive platitudes as well, such as “It’s for the best” or “He’s in a better place.” Allow others to experience their own emotions about death without judging or amplifying their pain.
  • Think about death every day. Cultivate a daily death-awareness practice to stay mindful of how precious life is and to remember to make the most of every moment.

Do your work with an open mind and heart and help spread a death-positive mindset wherever you go.

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776If you’d like to support this podcast, go to Patreon.com/eolu to donate $1 or $2 per month.

Thank you to current patrons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

 

Tune in every Monday for a new episode and until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.               BE Ready.                 Love Your Life.

karen-signature

End of Life, EOLPodcast

SPECIAL EPISODE: Extreme Measures in the ICU with Dr. Jessica Zitter

Learn how ICU and Palliative Care Physician Dr. Jessica Zitter is changing the culture of critical care medicine in America.

extrememeasuresblog

 

jessicazitterMy guest Dr. Jessica Zitter, MD, MPH, is committed to changing the current paradigm of end-of-life medical decision-making. In today’s medical culture, the dying are often put on what she calls the “End-of-Life Conveyor Belt.” They are intubated, catheterized, and die attached to machines, frequently without even knowing they are dying.

 

In her work, Zitter builds bridges between patients and the healthcare team, striving to offer care aligned with each patient’s values and preferences. She has come to see that patients empowered with knowledge can die well, even beautifully.

Dr. Zitter practices the unusual combination of Critical and Palliative Care medicine at Highland Hospital, a public hospital in Oakland, California. She attended Stanford University and Case Western Reserve University Medical School and earned her Masters in Public Health from University of California, Berkeley. Her medical training includes an Internal Medicine residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a fellowship in Pulmonary/Critical Care at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also co-founder of Vital Decisions, a telephone-based counseling service for patients with life-limiting illness.

extremes

Dr. Zitter is the author of the new book, Extreme Measures – Finding a Better Path to the End of Life, published by Penguin Random House in February 2017. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times on these issues, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Pacific Standard, and JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association. She is featured in the short documentary Extremis, which won top honors at the Tribeca and San Francisco International Film Festivals, has been nominated for an Academy Award, and is now streaming on Netflix.

Purchase Extreme Measures here.

This interview will cover:

  • How Dr. Zitter became aware of the need for a culture shift in critical care medicine
  • How our life-saving technology has become a nightmare for some patients
  • The changes needed in medical education to help physicians provide better end-of-life care to patients
  • How patients and their loved ones can prepare for end-of-life decision-making
  • Advice for choosing the best healthcare proxy

Learn more about Dr. Zitter’s work:

Website: www.jessicazitter.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/jessicazitter

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JessicaZitter

Be sure to tune in every Monday for the regular weekly episodes of the EOLU Podcast and until then remember:

Face Your Fears.                       BE Ready.                    Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 78 Change Happens: How to be Prepared for the Ultimate Transition

What does it take to be ready and at peace when you reach the end of life? Here are some thoughts on how to prepare.

 

podcastroadmap

In this episode we’ll take a look at what you need to do to prepare for the future, particularly the end of life. You’ll find out how to BE Ready for whatever life brings your way!

ANNOUNCEMENT:

slide01The Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning Course is finally available! Click here to learn more.

This 4-module course is like having your own personal consultation with an end-of-life physician (me!) who guides you through completing your paperwork one step at a time!

Check it out!

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776This podcast is sponsored through the EOLU donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. By contributing just $1 or $2 per month you can help support the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series. If you  become a supporter I will happily promote your book, website, cause or organization on a future episode of the podcast! THANK YOU to my latest patron Sylvie and to all current patrons!!

IN THE NEWS:

  1. Facebook announces it will offer employees up to 20 days of paid bereavement leave and 6 weeks of paid leave to care for an ill loved one.
  2. A study done by U of Colorado Anschutz showed that oncologists are reluctant to have conversations with patients about their prognosis and patients seem equally unwilling to discuss the difficult facts about their diagnosis. This demonstrates the need for better preparation for the end of life BEFORE the onset of a life-limiting illness.

Change Happens: How to be Prepared for the Ultimate Transition

17153795 - are you ready illustration design over a white backgroundWhat steps should you take now to be fully prepared for later life? I like to break them down into 3 categories: Paperwork, People, and Purpose.

Here are some suggestions for your own preparations:

  1. Paperwork:
  • Make sure you have completed an estate plan and/or will to protect your financial assets
  • Appoint someone to be your financial power of attorney AND a separate  person as your medical power of attorney
  • Complete your advance directive (or living will)
  • Plan for your funeral and burial
  • Gather important documents, account numbers, passwords, etc. into on file where they will be accessible in the future (Check out the BE Ready Checklist for a list of all these documents you should gather)

2. People:

  • Tie up “loose ends” in your life by practicing forgiveness
  • Make amends with the people closest to you
  • Say “I love you” whenever you have the opportunity
  • Talk with your loved ones about your healthcare wishes
  • Talk with your doctors (and also spiritual advisor or attorney if relevant) about your end-of-life wishes
  • Be prepared to care for an ill or dying loved one at home if that should become necessary

3. Purpose:

  • Think about your own sense of meaning and purpose in life–are you living life fully in each moment?
  • Practice being present in the moment by taking up mindfulness or using deep breathing
  • Recognize that your purpose is not really something you hope to accomplish in the future; it lies in how you live your life each moment
  • Face your fear of death so that you can fully prepare and then relax and enjoy all that your life offers to you

Click here to download the End-of-Life Preparedness Assessment to see if you are ready!

Tune in every Monday for a new episode. Until the next time, remember:

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                Love Your Life.

karen-signature

 

 

EOLPodcast, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 77 Managing Family Conflict at the End of Life

What do you do when a family (your own or a patient’s) is crumbling due to unhealed resentments and irreconcilable differences? Find out now.

conflictpodcast

 

In today’s episode I’ll share my best tips for helping families move through conflict toward resolution during stressful times like the death of a loved one. I’ve had lots of experience with this work during my years as a hospice doctor so be prepared for a longer-than-usual episode!

Announcements:

slide01My new course Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning is almost ready for release (just a few days away as I record this!) The course is simple yet comprehensive and will help you examine your mindset, values, beliefs, and fears about death before you make decisions about your end-of-life healthcare. Go to eoluniversity.com/roadmap to learn more and sign up to be notified as soon as the course is released.

Sponsorship:

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776This podcast is sponsored through the EOLU donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. By contributing just $1 or $2 per month you can help support the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series. If you  become a supporter I will happily promote your book, website, cause or organization on a future episode of the podcast! THANK YOU to all current patrons!!

Managing Family Conflict at the End of Life:

Families facing the death of a loved one are particularly prone to be divided by the resurgence of old conflicts and resentments. Over my years as a hospice doctor I have seen many families split apart by their differences at a time when they most need to be united.

Most of these families had longstanding grievances that had been buried and ignored over the years, only to rise to the surface under the stress of a loved one’s death. Sibling rivalries, parental favoritism, divorce, and competition for inheritances are the most common reasons for these resentments. In addition many families are also divided over religious and political differences, which is an especially prevalent problem right now.

One of the important functions of hospice staff members and other end-of-life workers is to assist splintered families with healing and resolution of their conflicts, whenever possible. But sometimes we are called to assist our own families when challenges arise. Here are some tips for being a peacemaker for a fractured family:

  • Remain neutral on the issues of conflict. As much as possible leave your own biases, preferences and beliefs at the door if you hope to help resolve a disagreement. This will be much easier if you are not emotionally entangled in the conflict. But even if you are, you need to learn to become a “Witness” to the situation (a higher state of consciousness that allows you remain detached.)
  • Listen to all sides of the argument. Spend time with each person involved in the conflict until you can grasp their perspective. If you are part of the disagreement then at least try to understand the point of view of the others involved in the situation. As soon as you begin to understand how and why the others feel the way they do then you have taken a huge step toward reconciliation.
  • Avoid trigger topics. Political and religious differences may complicate family conflicts at the end of life but are usually not reconcilable. So it is best to “agree to disagree” about these points of view and set them aside so that the focus can be on healing other issues.
  • Be present. By staying calm and unemotional you can prevent the conflict from escalating into an all-out war. Practice mindfulness to help strengthen your ability to be present so that your own emotions don’t flare up when you are trying to help others.
  • Find common ground. As you listen carefully to the stories of each opponent in the disagreement you may recognize certain common threads–areas where they actually share the same perspective without realizing it. Gather these threads so that you can remind those in conflict that are some things they have in common. Help them untie around the things that matter most (like doing what’s best for their loved one.)
  • Learn the wishes of the dying loved one (if possible.) If you can still communicate with the patient you may find out that she has a wish for her family to reconcile. You can use this wish to help draw the combatants together in their desire to please and comfort the one they love. Let the patient’s wishes become a “magnet” around which the rest of the family gradually comes together.
  • Have patience. Don’t try to force a reconciliation by rushing into a family conference or intervention. Allow for some separation initially and let the gaps between individuals gradually begin to close.

The bottom line is that families who don’t wait until the end of life to resolve their differences have a much easier time negotiating the challenges of death and dying. But that’s not the case for most families. Most are left to rehash old sibling issues, betrayals, disappointments, and wounds during the last days of their loved one’s life when they should be sitting at the bedside offering love and comfort.

Start working through your own resentments now–practice love and forgiveness earlier in life and your final days will be blessed. If you need extra help consider checking out the Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning or the book What Really Matters. You’ll find guidance and support from me for your journey!

slide01       wrmflatcover

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.                 BE Ready.                   Love Your Life.

karen-signature

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 75 Perfect Your Paperwork: Mistakes to Avoid in Your End-of-Life Planning

It’s not enough to get your paperwork done … make sure it’s done right!

eolmistakes

In this episode we’ll look at several common mistakes people make when doing their advance directives–mistakes that could make it more difficult for their end-of-life wishes to be carried out. Learn how to get your paperwork right so you can relax!

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776This podcast is supported through the generous donations of listeners made on Patreon.com/eolu. When you donate just $1 or $2 per month I will thank you by mentioning your name on the podcast and promoting your cause!

Thank you to my latest patron: Jayne Boulton–I appreciate your support Jayne!

In the News:

An online article from Managed Healthcare Executive asks the question: Can Data Analytics Aid in End-of-Life Care Decisions? The author cites a recent study from JAMA that shows 70% of MD’s reporting that they have not been trained to have end-of-life conversations with patients and 73% of patients over the age of 65 have never had an advance care planning discussion with a doctor.

Medical data analysts have suggested that EHR’s might be useful to help health systems identify patients in need of end-of-life conversations. The article points out that current management of advance directives on EHR’s is poor since on average it requires clicks on 12 different screens to locate a patient’s AD, which takes 1.3 minutes–not fast enough in an emergency situation. In addition many patients at the end of life experience more than 3 transfers to different facilities and their paperwork is often lost in the process.

Much work needs to be done to help patients get their wishes met at the end of life! For that reason I have created a NEW online course to guide people through creating their advance directives, making them legal,  and having conversations with loved ones and doctors about their wishes.

slide01The course “Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning” is self-paced and can be completed any time, anywhere.

I’ve written the course to help people be prepared mentally and emotionally to make end-of-life decisions and avoid the common mistakes discussed below.

Learn more about the course at www.eoluniversity.com/Roadmap.

Common mistakes in end-of-life planning include:

  • Putting it off for a later time
  • Not completing the forms entirely
  • Choosing contradictory options on the forms
  • Choosing the wrong healthcare proxy
  • Getting lost in the details of possible scenarios at the end of life
  • Not discussing plans with the doctor
  • Not expressing wishes to loved ones
  • Not updating end-of-life preferences over time

The Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning is designed to avoid all of these mistakes and to aid in making the right choices for future healthcare needs.

Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! Until next week:

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!

 

EOLPodcast

Ep. 55 How to Talk to Your Healthcare Provider About Your End-of-Life Wishes

Today Dr. Karen Wyatt discusses how to start an end-of-life planning conversation with your healthcare provider. She suggests the following:

  • Don’t wait for your provider to bring it up – initiate the conversation yourself
  • Schedule a dedicated appointment for advance care planning rather than trying to add it on to a regular visit or wellness exam
  • Be prepared by completing either The Conversation Starter Kit or the SMART Decisions Challenge before your visit
  • Choose your healthcare proxy in advance and make sure that person is willing to serve this role on your behalf
  • Print your paperwork in advance by going to caring info.org and downloading the forms needed for your state(s) of residence
  • Bring along a list of your questions
  • Return for a follow-up conversation in 2-4 weeks. Then plan to revisit your decisions every 5 years or whenever your health status changes.

Remember to subscribe to End-of-Life University interview series on the website.

If you’d like to support EOLU with a small donation go to Patreon.com/eolu.

Tune in next week and until then:

Face Your Fears.           BE Ready.            Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 52 How to Start an End-of-Life Film Series in Your Community

Read the companion blog for this podcast here!

Today Dr. Wyatt shares some tips on starting a film series in your community to encourage conversations about death and dying. Movies are a great way to touch and inspire people and open their hearts and minds to new information. You can get your own film series by following the steps below:

  • Define your target audience – know who you want to serve with this information and how many people you anticipate might attend
  • Find partners – look for organizations in your community that can serve as donors or sponsors
  • Locate a venue – try to find a free space by asking one of your partners to donate the use of their facility
  • Decide what to charge – create a budget and find out if you will need to sell tickets for the event or can ask for donations instead
  • Create an event schedule – decide how long your event should be and whether or not you can include time for a discussion group, panel, or guest lecturer after the film; also choose the day and time for your event so you can book the venue in advance if this is an ongoing monthly series
  • Choose your films – consider both feature films and documentaries as you plan your schedule. Go to eoluniversity.com/films to view a list of suggested films for your series
  • Promote your event – ask your community partners to help you get the word out

Let me know if you decide to do a film series! I would love to hear it turns out!

Remember to go to Patreon.com/eolu if you are interested in supporting this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series with a small donation.

Tune in each Monday for a new episode and remember:

Face Your Fear.           BE Ready.             Love Your Life.

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.

 

Aging, End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 47 How to Shift Our Mindset About the End-of-Life

 

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/artisurn or 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!

Until the next time, remember:

Face Your Fears.         BE Ready.        Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Uncategorized

Ep. 45: How to Get Free of Your Fear of Death

Join Dr. Karen Wyatt as she discusses How to Rise Above the Fear of Death. She talks about why it’s important for our entire society to face our fears of death and get a handle on them. Then she offers 6 suggestions for getting over the fear of death:

  • Think about death – daily if possible.
  • Write about death – keep a journal and record your process of facing your fears there
  • Read about death – start reading some great books that have been written recently about death. You can download a list of books at the link below this message or go to this webpage: Recommended Reading.
  • Learn about death – take a class or workshop, listen to End-of-Life University interviews.
  • Talk about death – join a Death Cafe or download the Conversation Project Starter Kit 
  • Work with death – become a hospice volunteer. Go to the NHPCO website to find a hospice near you.

You can hear about some great books to read by listening to Episode 33 or you can download a list right here: EOL Book Club Template.

Remember to go to Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to support this podcast and the EOLU Interview series with a small monthly donation.

Meanwhile:

Face Your Fears.            BE Ready.            Love Your Life.

See you next week!

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. 37 Creating a Support Community as an End-of-Life Worker

 

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.
  • Teach a class in your community. Consider teaching a death and dying class at a local community college if you have the credentials for it, or offer a class at your local senior or community center. Read this blog for some tips for teaching such a course HERE.
  • 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
  • Listen to educational interviews like this podcast or the interviews on the End-of-Life University Seminar Series. Click HERE to subscribe to the podcast and HERE to sign up for the seminar series.

Remember to support EOLU at patreon.com/eolu, tune in every Monday for a new episode, and leave your comments and reviews!

Face Your Fears.      BE Ready.      Love Your Life.

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. 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

Ep. 28 Action Steps for Improving End-of-Life Care in Your Community with Karen Wyatt MD

Click here to get the handout for this talk!

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:

  • Starting a Death Cafe
  • Creating an End-of-Life Book Club
  • Presenting a film series on the end-of-life
  • Volunteering for hospice
  • Teaching a death and dying class
  • Hosting a Death Over Dinner event
  • Facilitating a 5 Wishes workshop

Get the handout for this talk at http://tinyurl.com/eolaction

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Uncategorized

Ep. 25 Choosing Death by VSED with Phyllis Shacter

Join Dr. Karen Wyatt and her guest Phyllis Shacter, an advocate for natural dying through voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED.) Phyllis will discuss the story of her husband Alan who made the choice to stop eating and drinking rather than progress into the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In this interview you will learn:

  • factors that must be considered before making a decision for VSED as a means of dying with dignity
  • the role a caregiver must play in this type of decision
  • a personal perspective on the process of dying when a choice for VSED has been made
End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 21 Natural Dying: Advance Care Planning for Dementia with Stanley A. Terman MD, PhD

Dr. Wyatt interviews Dr. Stanley Terman about his strategy for helping dementia patients die a natural death without prolonged suffering.

In addition during this interview you will learn:
-how to create a living will that will ensure your wishes are met when you reach the end-of-life
-why an “ironclad strategy” for the end-of-life may be necessary
-resources for caregivers and professionals who deal with Advanced Dementia
-how to talk with family members about natural dying

Read transcript here.