EOLPodcast

Ep. 368 Why Death Education is Important with Karen Wyatt

Learn some ideas for how you might teach others in your community about death and dying and why you should.

In today’s solo episode I’ll share with you my thoughts on why death education is so essential in our society today. No matter what type of work you do in the end-of-life field (estate attorney, hospice staff, death doula, home funeral guide, green burial practitioner, bereavement counselor) you need to help educate your community about death, dying and grief if you want people to utilize your services. Right now we ALL need to become death educators in our own special way and I’ll talk about why that’s true and how you might get involved.

Watch on YouTube to see the slides

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This episode includes:

  • We are living longer and developing complex diseases (like Alzheimer’s) with increasing incidence.
  • Medical tech continues to advance rapidly allowing us to prolong life (even when patient’s don’t want that).
  • Our society is divided over ethical and moral dilemmas around end-of-life issues like medical aid in dying and removal of life support.
  • Being unprepared for death has a high financial cost (too much medical care and wasteful after-death care)
  • There is also and emotional and spiritual cost to ignoring death.
  • Where we need to be teaching about death, dying and grief:
    • The home – showing parents how to talk to their children about death
    • Schools – teaching high school and college students about death through classes, book clubs, discussion groups
    • Churches – clergy members need to know about EOL issues in order to better serve their congregations
    • Workplaces – employers and staff need to know how to deal with death and grief at work
    • Medical facilities – of course all medical personnel need much more education about death, grief, and how to deal with EOL decisions
    • Assisted living and nursing homes – staff also need to know how to handle grief, help residents with ACP, create sacred space for dying residents

Links mentioned in this episode:

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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 patron Francesca Arnoldy, and to those who have bought me a coffee and made a donation through Paypal! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 367 Increasing Death Awareness in Japan with Masatoshi Shoji

Learn how this man’s experience with grief led him to start a Death Café in Japan and become a death doula and Willow EOL educator.

My guest Masatoshi Shoji is a licensed acupuncturist, health communicator and medical translator in Sendai Japan. He started Death Café Sendai in his hometown in 2015 and since then has trained as a certified grief counselor, death doula and Willow EOL Educator. He shares why he first became interested in working with grief and death and his experiences with Death Café in Japan.

Visit his website

Watch on YouTube

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Masatoshi’s experience with grief as a young widower in Japan
  • What inspired him to create Death Café Sendai
  • How he organized and promoted his first Death Café
  • Resources that Masatoshi is using to further his own death education
  • The gradual growth in popularity of Death Café in Japan
  • The obstacles to talking about death in his community, including the use of implicit language
  • How Masatoshi felt socially marginalized as a young widower in his community
  • His goal to bring acupuncture to hospice and end-of-life care

Links mentioned in this episode:

Buy me a coffee

Donate on Paypal

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 patron Merlin Murdock, and to those who have bought me a coffee and made a donation through Paypal! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 361 Exploring End-of-Life Controversies Through Fiction Writing with John Byrne Barry

Learn about a novel that explores the moral dilemma of a son whose father asks him to end his suffering by hastening his death.

My guest John Byrne Barry is a writer, designer, actor, pickleball player, and crossing guard. He is the author of the novel When I Killed My Father: An Assisted-Suicide Family Thriller that explores what might happen if a son followed through on his father’s request to hasten the end of his life. He discusses how fictional stories can help us address controversial issues and find new perspectives on them and why he writes fiction “with a conscience.” Learn more about his writing at his website:

www.johnbyrnebarry.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • Why John chose to wrote a novel that addresses a family member helping a loved one end his life
  • How John did research for the book in order to understand hospice, end-of-life and right-to-die issues
  • How fiction can help us look at controversial and complicated issues and find more compassion for one another
  • How John portrayed communication issues, old family conflicts, and shadow wounds as obstacles to decision-making in the book
  • What John learned from writing this book
  • How end-of-life issues are becoming more visible in popular culture
  • What readers might take away from the book and apply to their own lives

Links mentioned in this episode:

Buy me a coffee

Donate on Paypal

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 patron Karen Hendrickson, and to those who have bought me a coffee and made a donation through Paypal! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 356 What Keeps Me Up at Night (about Hospice and Palliative Care) with Ira Byock MD

Dr. Ira Byock takes an honest and challenging look at worrisome issues within the hospice and palliative care field.

My guest today is Dr. Ira Byock who is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life. He is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer for the Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health. He is a frequent guest on this podcast and the author of Dying Well, The Four Things that Matter Most, and The Best Care Possible. Today he shares some of the concerns he has about current issues in hospice and palliative care. Learn more about his books and his work at the website:

www.irabyock.org

Watch on YouTube

Read the transcript

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The history of hospice programs and how and why they began
  • For-profit hospices now outnumber non-profit hospices by nearly 3 to 1
  • Problems with for-profit hospices include poor staffing, patients are less likely to see a doctor or social worker, 10% fewer nursing visits
  • For-profits extract up to 20% margin from patient care and make it hard for non-profits to stay in business
  • Concerns about sending patients home for hospice care without providing training to family members
  • Staff are burning out because of moral distress and because of excessive case loads which are being imposed for the sake of profit
  • For-profit hospices are being traded on Wall Street and private equity firms are also buying up hospices
  • How a focus on marketing and “branding” is causing palliative care to distance itself from hospice and from death and dying
  • Why we have to be brave enough to talk about and deal with the things that people in our society are afraid of
  • Why the palliative care “brand” should be providing the best care possible through the end of life (instead of “at the end of life”)
  • What to do:
    • Don’t trust blindly – ask questions and be discerning
    • Don’t lose your outrage – speak up when you see poor care being given
    • Be strong advocates for one another
    • Support community-based non-profit hospices

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Pre-order All the Flowers of the Mountain by Christina Holbrook here (and thank you!)

Buy me a coffee

Donate on Paypal

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 to my newest donor Mary E. Moriarty! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 354 The Hospice Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide with Barbara Karnes RN

Learn about the basics of hospice care, when to consider it, how to talk about it with others, and what to expect during the dying process.

My guest Barbara Karnes RN is an internationally recognized author, speaker, thought leader and expert on end of life care. She is the author of the “little blue hospice book” Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience, which has sold over 30 million copies worldwide in 12 different languages. Today Barbara shares her insights and stories about the hospice journey for patients and their families and walks us through each step of the process. Learn more about her work at her website:

www.bkbooks.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • When is it time to consider hospice
  • Why hospice care is a special type of medical care
  • How to find a good hospice
  • What it takes to care for a loved one at home
  • What hospice does and doesn’t provide for families
  • How to talk to a loved one about hospice
  • What to expect as death draws near
  • How hospice provides comfort and pain management

Links mentioned in this episode:

Buy me a coffee

Donate on Paypal

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 to Jan Wessel for increasing your pledge! Also thank you to Thilda Zorn for your Paypal donation and Bob Hoffman for buying me a coffee! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 351 Grief and the Best and Worst of Times with Dianne Gray

Learn how the death of her son inspired Dianne Gray’s current work as a death doula and patient advocate.

My guest Dianne Gray is a death doula, grief specialist and the Chief Innovation and Patient Advocacy Officer at Acclivity Health. After her son’s death from a rare neurodegenerative disorder she has dedicated her life to improving care for all adults and children facing serious illness. She shares her long journey with grief and how it has shaped and informed her work and her life.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Dianne survived the end-of-life journey and death of her son
  • The best and worst experiences of the dying process
  • How Dianne’s encounters with death and grief led her to the mission of helping others facing loss
  • Why death and grief are part of the wellness movement and must be included in life in order to be whole
  • What Dianne learned about life from the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Simple tools to ease grief and improve resilience
  • Therapy works for some people and not for others – keep searching for a good fit with a therapist
  • Learning that grief is a long journey to become someone new
  • Why viewing life as a fascinating adventure is helpful (and we never know what might happen next)
  • How social media can help or harm our grieving process
  • How Dianne works virtually as a patient advocate to get patients admitted to hospice and palliative 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 my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest patrons Phyllis Nickel and Kathleen Ribbens! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 349 Why My Family Chose Hospice with Kathleen Vallee Stein

Learn about the hospice experience from the perspective of a family member.

My guest Kathleen Vallee Stein worked for the California Department of Aging and has written numerous articles on caring for aging patents for more than twenty years. Her work has been published in the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Pasadena Star-News, Orange County Register, and the Jewish Journal. Recently she has written a book about her family’s experiences as her father faced the end of life called Loving Choices, Peaceful Passing: Why My Family Chose Hospice, and today she’ll share insights from that hospice journey with her father. Learn more at her website:

www.valleeview.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How her family made the decision to choose hospice for her father
  • The challenges of having conversations about hospice with a loved one at the end of life
  • How the family had to bring up hospice with the doctor initially but he was helpful after that point
  • The relief experienced by the entire family and the patient once they made the decision to stop curative treatment and to enroll in hospice
  • Negative misperceptions about hospice are an obstacle to early admission
  • How her father’s temperament changed for the better after going on hospice
  • Why Kathleen hired in-home professional caregivers even though her parents were initially opposed to it
  • How they managed their parents’ financial issues as a family
  • Dealing with old family conflicts that arise at the end of life
  • How the hospice chaplain made a big difference for her father
  • The many positive surprises that arose during her father’s end of life
  • How they planned the funeral and made decisions about disposition
  • How she and her mother grew closer through the challenges of caring for her father at the end of life
  • Advice to those considering hospice for a loved one
  • Hope and “precious time” with her father in his last days

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.

EOLU Blog

Finding Meaning in a Broken Life

Focus on the goodness of life rather than the regrets to find healing.

Jody was just 36 years old when she found out her colon cancer was incurable. I came to her apartment for our first hospice visit and saw that she was depressed and despondent over her diagnosis—as I had expected for someone her age who was raising two children by herself. She told me story after story of all the regrets she was carrying. And I just listened.

Her life had been unimaginably difficult—in foster care for most of her childhood then finally adopted at age 12 by a wonderful couple who loved her dearly. But she had been so filled with rage she couldn’t receive their love. She experimented with drugs and alcohol and was in and out of juvenile detention for petty crimes throughout her teens. There had been other even deeper regrets, but she didn’t want to talk about them. 

Jody was angry and bitter, but also ashamed. She believed she had wasted her life and now her children would grow up without a mother. She asked if there was any way to speed up her dying process because she could no longer face all of the emotional pain that was coming to the surface. 

We talked about things she could do to help with grief for her children, like writing letters to them that they could open at various milestones throughout their lives. She liked the idea that she could make sure her children didn’t feel unwanted, which she had experienced for most of her life.

I wasn’t sure how we could help Jody heal from all of these regrets. There were so many broken threads in her life and so many pieces to help her put back together. But then a little miracle happened. On my next visit with Jody she was like a different person: joyful and filled with energy and laughter. And she had more stories to tell me. 

Jody’s adoptive sister had come for a weekend visit and had brought with her boxes of old photos and a scrapbook. The two of them spent hours each day going through the photos together and gluing them into the album as a keepsake for Jody’s children. They wrote little stories on the pages to explain the pictures, which were arranged in a chronological timeline of Jody’s life.

She showed me each of the pages and told me entirely different stories than I had heard on my previous visit. Here was a family trip to the beach when she was 16. There was her favorite Halloween costume. And look: she was all dressed up for senior prom. Then there were pages and pages of pictures of her with her children: playing games, reading books, opening Christmas gifts, laughing, hugging, eating—all the little moments of life.

Jody wiped a tear away and smiled at me with a radiance I hadn’t seen before. “I’ve had a good life,” she said. “And I’ve been a good mom.” 

Here in her hands were the photos that documented all of the goodness of her life. In comparison to the magnificence of these moments, her regrets had faded away. She found meaning in the memories captured in these photos and was able to weave the broken threads of her life into a beautiful tapestry that was uniquely hers. 

Jody died just two weeks later. But she had been able to go through the album with her children and tell them all the stories that were depicted there. And she managed to write each of them letters that they could open when they were older. They would know they were loved and that their lives mattered and that an angel would be watching over them for all of their days. 

For most of us—like Jody—life hands us a mixture of sorrows and joys. We can view it all through the lens of regret and wish that things had been different. But we can also find ways to pick up the broken pieces and put them together to create a work of art–the likes of which has never before been seen–that might just change the world.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 339 Feng Shui for Hospice Patients with Char Tarashanti

Learn how paying attention to the small details of the surroundings can make a big difference in the wellbeing of hospice patients.

My guest Char Tarashanti is a retired Hospice Chaplain and Certified Feng Shui Consultant. She shares how the principles of Feng Shui can be applied to the care of hospice patients and improve the physical environment as well as the harmony and balance of the space. Her practical suggestions make it simple for any of us to create more pleasing and appealing surroundings for people at the end of life. Download her handout here:

Handout

Read Transcript

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is Feng Shui
  • How death is viewed within the Feng Shui tradition
  • How Char became interested in Feng Shui and in hospice work
  • The benefits for patient and caregiver of creating a more harmonious space
  • The essential elements of Feng Shui and how to apply them to a hospice room
  • How to manage clutter and get better organized in a home hospice setting
  • The two most important features of Feng Shui for hospice patients
  • How caregivers should communicate about any changes being made in the home before beginning the process

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 new patrons Aby Fy and Anne Janssen and to Richard Schneider for increasing your monthly pledge! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 330 The Legacy of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross with Ken Ross

Learn about the paradigm-shifting work of Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and how her son carries on her legacy through the EKR Foundation.

My guest Ken Ross, son of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, is the founder and current president of the EKR Foundation. He discusses the foundation’s mission, which is to enhance compassionate care for the seriously ill and dying, as well as his mother’s important work and legacy. We talk about Elisabeth’s life and pivotal moments that influenced her to focus on death and dying, as well as the resistance she met during her lifetime and the criticisms of her work that continue to this day. Learn more about the EKR Foundation at this website:

www.ekrfoundation.org

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What is was like for Ken growing up in the midst of his mother’s groundbreaking work
  • How Elisabeth was inspired to focus on death and dying as a medical doctor
  • The many challenges and controversies Elisabeth faced throughout her life
  • Elisabeth’s book On Death and Dying (published in 1969) and how she conceived of the stages she observed in her work with terminal patients
  • The criticisms of the 5 stages model and why they represent a misunderstanding of Elisabeth’s original intention
  • How Ken supports his mother’s legacy through the global work of the EKR Foundation
  • Upcoming classes being planned by the foundation
  • Elisabeth’s final journey as a patient needing care from others
  • Lessons Ken learned as a caregiver
  • How Elisabeth’s personal interest in mysticism and the afterlife helped her at the end of her life

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.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 327 Warm Water: The Last Act of Compassion in Hospice Care with Pepper Cappuccio RN

Learn about the unique stories gathered by a hospice nurse who works primarily on-call during after-hours shifts.

My guest Pepper Cappuccio is a registered nurse who has worked in hospice care for over 12 years. As an on-call nurse who frequently works evenings and weekends he is often present at the time of death for patients or shortly thereafter. He is the author of the book Warm Water: The Last Act of Compassion, which consists of stories of patients and families he has helped throughout the years as they navigate the last hours of life. He discusses the uniqueness of his work and shares stories about experiences in hospice that have changed his life. Learn more at his website:

www.peppercappuccio.com

Get Warm Water:The Last Act of Compassion here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Pepper was inspired to become a hospice nurse
  • Why he is willing to take night call for his hospice and how it differs from field work during the day
  • How he uses music as a source of calming or inspiration in his work
  • How he chose the stories he included in the book to represent a cross-section of patients served by hospice
  • What it’s like to be a male nurse in a traditionally female profession
  • Why families need support during the hours shortly after the death of a loved one
  • What Pepper has learned from his hospice work and what he hopes readers will take away from his book
  • Special stories of synchronicity from the book

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, especially my new patron Cindy Spence! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 319 At the Bedside: Tools for Caring for the Dying with Gabrielle Elise Jimenez

Learn how this hospice nurse and end-of-life doula is making a difference by sharing the tools she has learned.

My guest Gabrielle Elise Jimenez is a hospice nurse, end-of-life doula and conscious dying educator. She is also the author of three books intended to teach others how to provide care to their own dying loved ones. She talks about the tools she feels are most important for caregivers to learn and she also shares information about her Facebook page that exploded with new members when people started posting about their grief. Learn more about her books and courses at her website:

www.thehospiceheart.net

Get her books here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Gabby ended up becoming a hospice nurse and an end-of-life doula
  • The tools needed to care for a dying loved one at home
  • How to help families with grief in hospice
  • How Gabby tapped into the huge need for grief support that exists in our world right now
  • Advice for healthcare professionals who need to recognize their own grief
  • How to stay in balance while doing emotionally challenging work
  • The impact of COVID on hospice workers
  • 3 things everyone should know about death and dying
  • How to live our best lives by recognizing that we will die one day

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.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 315 “Deep Dive” Part 1: Hospice and EOL Doulas with Deanna Cochran RN

Learn the “long-view” of end-of-life care and how hospice care has changed over time to now include death doulas.

My guest Deanna Cochran is a registered nurse with certification in hospice and palliative care who has served as a private EOL doula since 2005, so she is truly a pioneer in the movement. She is the founder of the CareDoula® School of Accompanying the Dying and the author of “Accompanying the Dying: Practical, Heart-Centered Wisdom for End-of-Life Doula and Healthcare Advocates.” Today we begin a “deep-dive” conversation that covers our experiences in nursing and medical training, hospice of the past vs today’s hospice, and why death doulas are so important right now. Tune in next week for Part 2 of our discussion! Learn more about Deanna’s work and the trainings she offers at her website:

www.certifiedcaredoula.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Deanna was first introduced to sitting vigil by her grandmother
  • The lack of death training in nursing and medical schools
  • Why we have to be aware of our own suffering before we can sit with the suffering of others
  • Why death doulas are needed now more than ever in our busy and understaffed healthcare system
  • How hospice care has changed over the years
  • What to do if you are receiving inadequate care from a hospice
  • How the medical system falls short of whole-person care by focusing primarily on the physical aspect of patients
  • Why personal experience matters a great deal in caring for the dying
  • The value of stillness and being quiet in end-of-life 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 my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest supporters Alix Lutnick and Nancy Kendrick! Your contributions make all the difference.

EOLPodcast

Ep. 277 Seven Year Summer: A Memoir of Two Life and Death Journeys with Anna Byrne

Learn how a long journey through cancer prepared Anna to be a hospice volunteer and inspired her spiritual growth.

My guest Anna Byrne holds a combined degree in Psychology and Gerontology, is a certified teacher, and has been a coordinator for a hospice society in British Columbia. She survived 4 cancer diagnoses in her 30’s and then worked as a volunteer for an elderly hospice patient throughout one entire summer. She is the author of the book Seven Year Summer which tells the story of her own journey through cancer and her days of sitting at Eleanor’s bedside, discussing life and the approach of death. Learn more at her website:

https://annabyrne2.wixsite.com/mysite

Get the book here

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Anna’s perspective on cancer changed throughout her 4 diagnoses
  • The “hero’s journey” of cancer treatment and how it fell apart for Anna
  • The spiritual tools and support that helped Anna navigate her illness and losses
  • The use of “battle” metaphors in medicine and how they cause harm
  • The difference between curing and healing
  • How Anna’s suffering prepared her to be a hospice volunteer for Eleanor
  • The difference between chronos and kairos time
  • How caregivers can better support patients who are facing the end of life
  • How writing the book helped Anna heal some of the trauma of her cancer journey

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • The Conference on Death and Bereavement Studies: A Professional Development Symposium – January 10, 2021 Learn more here
  • Spiritual Journeys in Chronic Illness Course – with Terri Daniels – starts January 7th Learn more here
  • Sign up for the 2021 online reading group A Year of Reading Dangerously at this link
  • Support you local bookstore by buying my books on Bookshop and Indiebound: 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying and The Journey from Ego to Soul
  • Subscribe to this podcast on AppleGoogleSpotifyiHeart RadioStitcher Radio
  • Check out the Series I’ve recorded in the past here
  • 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! Your contributions make all the difference!

EOLPodcast, Spirituality

BONUS 11: Love Over Fear – Stories for Precarious Times

Welcome to this weekly bonus series of brief stories designed to touch your heart and offer you comfort, joy, laughter, and inspiration as we face uncertain times together! Remember always to choose LOVE over fear!

Story 11: To everything there is a season

To everything there is a season

Featured Verse: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 216 Hospice Under Threat: How to Protect Patient-Centered End-of-Life Care with Jeff Lycan

Learn about the “dark side” of the hospice business and how to identify and support organizations that are truly patient-centered.

PodcastEOLU19Lycan

My guest Jeffrey Lycan has spent the last 21 years of his  hospice and palliative care nursing career as an advocate for improving care and quality of life for patients at the end of life. He will discuss the recent alarming reports issued by the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) about instances of negligent care in some hospices, the worrisome trend toward profit-centered rather than patient-centered care, and how to support community-based hospices that are preserving Cicely Saunders’ legacy of end-of-life care. Learn about the Why It Matters Campaign he has started:

www.ohioshospice.org/whyitmatters

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • The two OIG reports from July 2019 that exposed fraudulent and negligent care in some hospices (see links below)
  • What a “deficiency” in a hospice survey actually means
  •  Business changes in the hospice industry that have contributed to flaws in the care being offered
  • How some hospices now focus on profit first rather than patient care first
  • How profiteering harms the hospice system, patients and staff
  • New MedPAC proposal for lowering the annual per patient cap for hospices and why it may be a good thing
  • How consumers can choose the best hospice for their loved ones
  • How to register a complaint about hospice care
  • The campaign Why It Matters: Preserving the Legacy of Hospice

As originally championed by Cicely Saunders, MD, the founder of the modern hospice movement, the hospice model of care was based on providing end-of-life care with both compassion and science, and offering this care through engaged community-based, not- for-profit programs.

-from Why It Matters Website

ANNOUNCING:

FREE Webinar with Jane Barton: The Loneliness Epidemic

Register here.

BartonWebinarloneliness

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/eoluespecially Susan Baumhammer, your contribution means  everything to me!

EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 188 Nurturing the Heart of Hospice: Tools for the Workplace with Brenda Clarkson RN

Learn how administrators and managers can better support their staff in providing heart-based care to hospice patients. 

PodcastClarkson

My guest Brenda Clarkson, with over 40 years of nursing experience in hospice, truly understands the mystery that surrounds the dying process and how best to support patients and hospice staff as they journey together through the end-of-life experience. She shares her model for returning to the roots of excellent hospice care while navigating today’s regulatory challenges as outlined in her book “The Heart of Hospice: Core Competencies for Reclaiming the Mystery.” Contact Brenda at:

bclarkson@virginiahospices.org

heartofhospicecover

Get the book here.

Listen here:

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Registration is now open for the 8-week online course Spiritual Journeys in Chronic Illness. Rev. Dr. Terri Daniel and I will be co-teaching the class, which is offered by the Applied Wisdom Institute in partnership with the University of Redlands. CEU’s will be available! Learn more here.

Mark your calendars now for the event of the year!!! Announcing the Beautiful Dying Expo, which will be held in San Diego CA on November 2-3, 2019. I’ll be there as a facilitator for the event and registration is open now for workshop presenters, vendors, sponsors, authors, filmmakers. Go to www.beautifuldyingexpo.com to learn more. Contact Michele Little at info@beautifuldyingexpo.com if you are interested in being a presenter.

This interview includes:

  • Why honoring “the mystery” of dying and death is important
  • How the modern hospice movement has strayed from from the original heart of patient care
  • A new “mystery model” of hospice care that overcomes some of the challenges faced by hospices today
  • Core competencies of the hospice staff
  • The 4 phases of growth experienced by hospice workers
  • How to decrease the turnover rate of hospice workers
  • Tools for administrators and managers to choose the best staff for hospice work and support them emotionally and spiritually

Links mentioned in this episode:

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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, Martha Turner!!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 138 Pet Therapy for Hospice Patients with Carol Mestemacher and Magnum – Facility Dog

Learn how pet therapy with a trained animal companion can benefit hospice patients physically and emotionally.

PodcastMagnum

MagnumIn this episode I share a “legacy interview” from the archives with Magnum – a trained facility dog – and his handler Carol Mestemacher about the benefits of pet therapy for hospice patients. Magnum recently “retired” from his volunteer position so I decided to honor his work by featuring this interview today. Thank you for your service Magnum and Carol!

Links to learn more about pet therapy:

Champ Assistance Dogs

Assistance Dogs International

Pet Partners

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

A huge thank you to my new supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Susan Clark and Howard Bryant! Your contributions help me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air. If you’d like to join us for as little as $1 a month and receive special bonuses go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

Links to events taking place now:

“A Year of Reading Dangerously” – online reading group about dying, death and the afterlife

S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge – 10-day challenge for completing your advance directives this month

Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class – get this free guide to help you start a class

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This episode features an interview with Magnum – Facility Dog and his handler Carol Mestemacher about the benefits of pet therapy for hospice patients.

You will learn:

  • The physical and emotional changes that occur for patients with pet therapy
  • The training required for an animal to be certified for pet therapy
  • How maximum security prisoners are providing training for therapy animals
  • What type of pet is well-suited to become a therapy animal
  • How Magnum serves as an ambassador for hospice in his community
  • How to start a pet therapy program in your area

Remember to tune in for a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this podcast please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next week …

Face Your Fear              BE Ready           Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast, Uncategorized

Ep. 110 Threshold Choir: Singing to Comfort the Dying

Learn how small choirs around the country are bringing beauty and solace to the bedsides of dying patients.

PodcastThreshold

ThresholdCollageIn this episode I share an interview with Kate Munger and Marti Mariette who have helped to spread the “threshold choir” movement across the U.S. and the world. You’ll hear clips of their beautiful singing! Learn more at www.thresholdchoir.org.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

IMG_0723I’m still traveling in Italy and you can keep track of my journey by following me on Instagram (kwyattmd) or Facebook (Karen Wyatt MD). I’m supposed to be getting some research and writing done for my new book on grief … but we’ll see how it goes. I might be just eating my way through the country!

Patreonbecome2xYou can support this podcast and the EOLU Interview Series with a small donation of $1 or $2 per month! As a thank-you gift you’ll receive a the Top 10 Interviews from EOLU, a recorded Q&A session each month (where I’ll be answering YOUR questions), and a chance to have me promote your work on this podcast! Learn more at Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Today I welcome my special guests Kate Munger, the founder of the Threshold Choir movement, and Marti Mariette, who is the director of the Santa Cruz Threshold Choir. They will share with us:

  • How and why Kate started the first Threshold Choir
  • The benefits of bedside singing for patients and their families
  • The benefits experienced by the singers themselves
  • How to start or join a Threshold Choir in your area
  • Samples of some special Threshold Choir music!

Get the Threshold Choir CDs here.

Tune in each Monday for a new episode and be sure to leave a review on iTunes to help me share this podcast far and wide!

Until next time …

Face Your Fear.                  BE Ready.                     Love Your Life.

karen-signature

 

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!

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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.