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
Dr. Karen Wyatt discusses what’s new and noteworthy in the end-of-life arena this month:
Medscape article reveals that 1/3 of all people in the US with advance directives actually request more medical intervention at the end-of-life, rather than choosing to limit medical intervention; question: What is “futile” care?
Helsinki, Finland project allows young people to live at low cost within senior living centers in exchange for interacting with the elderly residents
PEACH program in Toronto provides mobile palliative care to the homeless
France has a “deep sleep bill” allowing terminal sedation that has passed the lower house of parliament
National Geographic article shows interesting death customs of Torajan people of Indonesia
Demonstration project for curative care occurring simultaneously with hospice care may be doomed because criteria for participation is too narrow and numbers are too small
Video game “That Dragon, Cancer” has been released
Stanford Letter Project is an interesting resource for creating advance directives in the form of a letter to physician, family members
Parting.com has an interactive map that shows funeral costs in each state of the US; discussion about living funerals
Tribute to 13 yo Delaney Clements who died this week and left us with a beautiful , joyful video expressing her wishes for her funeral
Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews Edgar Barens who is the director of the documentary film “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall.” The film focuses on hospice care being offered to a dying inmate at the Iowa State Penitentiary, where fellow inmates help provide care to the sick and dying. This film would be an excellent selection for a community-wide film series and discussion group.
In this interview you will learn about:
the process of creating this film and what motivated Edgar Barens to take on such a project
the aging prison population and the need for hospice care in prisons
the prison hospice model and how it differs from traditional hospices
the use of fellow prisoners as volunteer caregivers
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:
Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews Dr. Mitch Metzner, founder and CEO of Anam Cara, a social model hospice house in California. In this interview you will learn:
-the history of the non-medical social model for hospice care
-the difference between the non-medical social model and the medical inpatient model of hospice care
-how to overcome community resistance to neighborhood hospice care
-guidelines for starting a social model hospice house
-how Anam Cara is meeting the challenges of being a small stand-alone non-profit organization
Dr. Wyatt interviews Donald Schumacher, President and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
In this interview you will learn:
-How hospice care is growing in the U.S.
-What still needs to change in end-of-life care
-What you can do to promote better end-of-life care for yourself, your loved ones, your community and our nation
Dr. Karen Wyatt interviews palliative care physician Dr. Ira Byock about his vision for improving care at the end-of-life.
This interview will focus on:
-Defining the “best care possible” for you and your loved ones
-Why preparation for end-of-life care is important
-How to advocate with your healthcare providers for the quality of care you want
As I write this my friend has just left the doctor’s office and returned to her part-time home in our community. She has learned in the last few moments that her cancer has recurred and is rapidly growing in her abdomen. For the next two days she will be packing up her belongings and loading the car for a long road-trip back home, where she will have to tell her family her shocking news: she is expected to live for just a few more months.
The calendar slips from her hands, along with her plans for the rest of the year: a college reunion during the summer, an autumn trip to Europe, a journal article she planned to write, a research project she intended to complete …
Everything has changed now. She moves slowly through the mundane motions of this day, in dazed confusion: folding the laundry, organizing the grocery list, sweeping the floor … But wait, does it matter? Does any of this matter?
She sorts through the belongings in her home, one-by-one: a book (I’ve read this three times), a teapot (My mother-in-law gave this to me), an old sweater (I got this on our trip to Alaska), and photographs … so many photographs. Each item surveyed and analyzed. Do these things really matter?
She is talking too quickly now, her mind jumping from subject to subject, trying to avoid the looming, inevitable reality that will overshadow and consume everything in its path over the next few weeks. Her conversation seems almost nonsensical to me as I struggle to grasp what is going through her mind at this moment.
She is all alone now. She has entered a place where her family and friends, no matter how close they are, cannot go. As a hospice physician I have walked this path with many patients in the past. And though the scenery has varied with each person, I have noticed certain landmarks throughout each journey.
I cannot change my friend’s path or take away her suffering. I can only wait with her and watch and pray. For these coming days I shall look through her eyes and feel through her heart, observing life and all its oddities; noticing, while looking back from the perspective of death, what of this life really matters?