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:

PatreonMugShot

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

karen-signature

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!

blogtemplate2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week ….

Face Your Fears.              BE Ready.             Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 70 Looking Back on 2016: A Positive Year for End-of-Life Issues

In this final episode of 2016 Dr. Wyatt thanks all of the patrons who have generously made contributions on Patreon.com/eolu this year! Thank you for offering your support for this podcast and the End-of-Life University interview series!

In this look back at 2016 we talk about the following positive events in the end-of-life arena:

  • In January JAMA dedicated a special issue to “Death, Dying and the End-of-Life”, which represents a positive breakthrough in awareness of EOL issues by the medical profession
  • Medical schools began adopting new training programs for students in pain management, palliative care, and communication skills around advance care planning. There is a college-level program that pairs pre-med students with hospice patients
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are bringing in children and college students to interact with patients
  • Dementia rates in the US  have dropped in the past year
  • Pilot studies are underway involving providing education and training to family caregivers and providing a small stipend to caregivers
  • A demonstration project is underway to study the benefits of providing curative care simultaneously with hospice care
  • Studies showed that palliative care lowers healthcare costs along with providing increased quality of life, improved pain management and fewer hospital days
  • Harvard study of adult development showed that relationships are a key to longevity
  • California and Colorado both passed assisted dying laws in 2016
  • The nation’s first conference on VSED was held this year
  • Conversation Sabbath took place for the first time in November, bringing discussions about death and dying into places of worship
  • Dying to Know Day was held in the US, inspired by the movement in Australia
  • Miss Norma, a 90-year old woman who refused treatment for her cancer, spent most of the year traveling around the country in an RV with her son and daughter-in-law, fully enjoying the last days of her life

Thank you for tuning in to the EOLU Podcast during 2016! I hope this has been a positive and productive year for you. May 2017 be filled with growth, surprises, peace and joy! See you next year and until then …

Face Your Fears.              BE Ready.              Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                       Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice

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

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

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

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

Face Your Fears.                   BE Ready.                     Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Face Your Fears.                 BE Ready.                Love Your Life.

 

Aging, End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief

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

 

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

  • Joan Roellchen-Pfohl, RN
  • Martha Johnson – author of the upcoming book “Take Charge of the Rest of Your Life”; learn more at www.meetmarthajohnson.com
  • Marggie Hatala – author and teacher of a writing class related to end of life; her books are “Sally: A Memoir” and the forthcoming “Life as Prayer”; learn more at www.marggiehatala.com

Next she begins the Update for September by talking about the new documentary film currently streaming on Neflix: Extremis, which won 1st place at the Tribeca Film Festival. Please see this film which takes place in the ICU at Highland Hospital in Oakland and features Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter. This is a must-see film that brilliantly depicts the conundrum that exists at the end of life when painful decisions must be made. By showing the real-life conversations that take place in the ICU between staff, family members and patients, a case is made for everyone to complete their advance directives and prepare their loved ones to honor their wishes at the end of life. But the painful process of decision-making becomes apparent as each individual struggles with the unknown and the unknowable in these dire situations.

The other topics covered this month include:

  • BMJ Online report that patients who receive hospice care for the last 6 months of life have better pain control, fewer hospital days, and are less likely to die in the hospital or ICU.
  • Researchers at John Hopkins found that their palliative care program led to  savings of ~ $19 million over 5 years in addition to improved quality of care and patient satisfaction.
  • Study originally published in Health Affairs and reported on Reuters online showed gaps in palliative care in the US. Read the article.
  • “What it feels like to die,” an article in The Atlantic discusses the active dying process from the patient’s perspective. Read the article.
  • Friends and Family Letter Project by Dr. VJ Periyakoil at Stanford includes 7 prompts for letter writers to leave messages for their loved ones. Read the article.
  • “7 Songs for a Long Life” documentary from Scotland that depicts how terminally ill patients use singing as therapy. Read the article.
  • The Friendly Atheist Julie Stahl reminds us not to impose our own religious or spiritual beliefs on those who are grieving and may not share your perspective. Read her blog.

Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! I hope you enjoy this information. If you feel inspired to offer a little support go to Patreon.com/eolu to join the community!

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.               BE Ready.               Love Your Life!!!