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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Ep. 123 Goals and Wishes for 2018: Let’s “Be Good at Death”

Hear my far-reaching dreams and ideas for changing the way people die in the U.S. in 2018.

PodcastWishes18

goals2018In this episode I talk about some of my own personal goals for the New Year and then discuss a list of ideas for ways in which we need to improve all aspects of the end of life. Get some inspiration for steps you can take within your own community and in your own personal life to “Be Good at Death.”

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
A Year of Reading

I’ve started a new year-long reading group called A Year of Reading Dangerously for 2018! We’ll be exploring death and the afterlife through books that hopefully will inspire us and stretch our boundaries. Sign up to receive a monthly email with the book selection for the month and a downloadable reader’s discussion guide. Join the fun!

Sign up here.

A HUGE thank-you to my latest supporters: Claire Turner and Dr. Leslie Robinson. Your contribution is greatly appreciated as it helps defray the costs of producing and broadcasting this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series, but it also provides me with much-needed emotional and spiritual support! To donate as little as $1 per month go to Patreon.com/eolu.

There is a new pledge level on Patreon-the Platinum level-where for a donation of $5 per month you’ll receive replays of ALL of the End-of-Life University Interviews for 2018. So check it out now!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

What we need to do to “Be Good at Death” in 2018″:

  1. Policy Level changes needed:
    1. Improve reimbursement for Palliative Care
    2. Stabilize and improve reimbursement for Hospice Care
    3. Establish a system for paying family caregivers
  2. Medical System changes needed
    1. Integrate Palliative Care into Primary Care and therefore …
    2. Increase home-based palliative services
    3. Rank hospitals according to the quality of end-of-life care provided (based on an article by Dr. Haider Warraich from Duke University). Dr. Warraich’s criteria for this ranking include:
      1. “percentage of patients with a documented health care proxy
      2. percentage of patients who receive heroic measures like cardiopulmonary resuscitation or cardiac defibrillation
      3. appropriate use of hospice and palliative care
      4. the likelihood of a family recommending the hospital for end-of-life care
      5. whether patients’ location of death was concordant with the place in which they had wanted to die
      6. availability of around-the-clock spiritual resources
      7. the training the medical team receives for dealing with the medical and psychosocial issues that arise when death is imminent”   ((Thank you Dr. Warraich for this fabulous idea!))
  3. Medical Education changes needed
    1. Train all medical providers in palliative care (at least a one-month rotation) regardless of specialty
    2. All medical students work with dying patients in at least one rotation
    3. Teach better conversational and listening skills to medical providers
    4. Help medical providers process their own fears and biases toward death and their repressed grief
  4. Community changes needed
    1. Create adjuncts to hospice care:
      1. Non-medical social hospices
      2. All-volunteer non-medical hospice services
      3. Hospices train volunteer death doulas to augment the care currently being provided
    2. Establish Caregiver Education programs in the community
    3. Create a No One Dies Alone program in hospitals and nursing facilities
    4. Improve community education about death and dying through:
      1. Death Cafes
      2. Book clubs
      3. Workshops
      4. Advance Directive courses
      5. Death and Dying classes for high schools, colleges and universities
  5. Individual changes needed:
    1. Continually work on our own fear and resistance to death
    2. Explore our unhealed and repressed grief (consider travel to help with grief)
    3. Keep learning about death
    4. Talk about death with others in our social circle
    5. Make death part of your every day life 
    6. Teach children about death and help them navigate through loss and grief

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Come back each Monday for a new episode! Visit Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to become a supporter and leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this podcast.

Until next week:

Face Your Fear          BE Ready         Love Your Life

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Ep. 122 Top 10 “Game Changers” of 2017 for the Death-Positive Movement

Learn about my Top-10 picks for people, events and trends that have changed the end-of-life movement in 2017.

PodcastGameChangers

2017In this final episode of 2017 I take a look back at the previous year and share my thoughts on some of the events and people that I believe will have a big impact on how our society deals with the end of life.

Happy Holidays!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Patreonbecome2xYou can support this podcast by making a small donation of $1 or $2 at Patreon.com/eolu.

 

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Here are my picks for the 2017 Game Changers in the Death-Positive Movement:

  • The documentary film “Extremis” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. The film was also picked up by Netflix in 2016. It is a powerful depiction of end-of-life care in the ICU staffed by Dr. Jessica Zitter, which should serve as a wake-up call to people about the need to do end-of-life planning before a healthcare crisis occurs.
  • Dr. Jessica Zitter’s book Extreme Measures was also released this year. In addition she wrote an article for the N.Y. Times (“First Sex Ed Then Death Ed”) calling for death education classes for all high school students. This novel idea has the potential to change our society’s perception of death and dying by introducing the subject to young people. Dr. Zitter is truly a game changer!
  • In March and May of 2017 the organization The Dinner Party (a movement to provide community for millennials dealing with loss) convened meetings with business leaders from some prominent US corporations to discuss loss and the workplace. They emphasized the importance of developing workplace policies and protocols for managing bereaved employees and offering them assistance. These conversations are just the first step in changing how grief is recognized and supported in the workplace rather than being ignored.
  • In April 2017 the 1st International Death Doula Training was held in Maui for the purpose of teaching people from around the globe to serve others as death doulas. This event was a game changer because it validated the death doula movement, increased the number of qualified doulas who can serve their communities, and provided a networking platform for death workers, which helped strengthen and expand the movement. The 2nd International training will take place in 2018!
  • Also in Apri the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit was held to address the epidemic of opioid addiction in this country. Measures have been taken to limit the number of pain pills that can be prescribed and dispensed at one time. This is an important and game-changing step to deal with the overwhelming public crisis of opioid deaths but caution is necessary. We must be vigilant to ensure that all hospice and palliative care patients have access to the medications they need for pain and symptom management.
  • On June 27, 2017 Jon Underwood, founder of Death Cafe, died suddenly and unexpectedly at a young age. Jon has been a game changer from the beginning by creating the Death Cafe platform for conversations about death that has spread around the world. But the tragedy of his death is also a potential game changer because of the powerful legacy Jon leaves behind and because of the potential for tragedy to inspire growth, creativity and healing. The entire death-positive movement is indebted to Jon for his inspiring and gentle leadership and may his death be a catalyst for transformation.
  • In July a new smart phone app named WeCroak was introduced. This app is a game changer because it helps people to think about death in a positive manner  by sending reminders (“You will die one day”) and quotes on their phones 5 times a day. Technology has the potential to revolutionize our approach to death and dying and this simple $.99 app is just one small step toward the change that is needed.
  • The film Coco was released in the US by Disney and Pixar in November. Coco tells the story of a 12-year old boy who is transported to the land of the dead on Dia de los Muertos. There he receives help from his departed great-great grandfather to return to his family in the land of the living. The film depicts joyful skeletons who dance and sing and it portrays a positive image of life after death. While it is a children’s movie Coco has a powerful message for adults and is likely to stimulate much conversation in families about death and departed ancestors. It is exciting to see Hollywood begin to address death in a positive manner and this film is a game changer that will hopefully lead to more such productions in the future.
  • In December the first EndWell Symposium, created by Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider and her foundation, was held in San Francisco. This groundbreaking symposium brought together thought leaders from healthcare, design and technology to share ideas on how to improve end-of-life care. The synergy of this collaborative event will have a ripple effect across the country and should lead to innovation and creativity around death and dying in the months to come. Dr. Ungerleider is a game changer for her forward-thinking generosity and ingenuity!
  • Also in December the Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy in Prescott AZ held a class for students in grades 9-12 on “Death and the Meaning of Life.”  School Director Charles Mentken taught the class, which provided a comprehensive look at death and dying from various cultural and religious perspectives. The elective class also introduced the students to options for hospice and palliative care, death doulas, home funerals, cremation, and traditional funeral and  burial services. This may be the first “pilot project” course of the type Dr. Jessica Zitter called for in her NY Times article and it is definitely a game changer. The students in the course have reported that their attitudes and fears about death have been totally transformed, as well as their approach to life, as a result of what they learned in the class. (I’ll be featuring an interview with Charles Mentken and 3 of his students on the End-of-Life University Interview Series in early 2018. Sign up if you’re not already on the list!)

I hope your holiday celebrations have been filled with joy and light and that you feel ready to embark on a brand new year next week! There will be a new episode on New Year’s Day where I will share my “wish list” for 2018.

Until then remember to ….

Face Your Fear            BE Ready           Love Your Life

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Ep. 119 The Dying in America Project with Carolyn Jones

Learn about this documentary film project that examines the dying process through the eyes of nurses, directed by award-winning filmmaker Carolyn Jones.

PodcastCaJones

Carolyn_JonesIn this episode I share an interview with Carolyn Jones, an amazing filmmaker who has turned her attention to the death and dying process here in the U.S. Through interviews with nurses all around the country and by following 4 patients on their end of life journeys Carolyn hopes to demystify the dying process and spur conversation about how to do it better.

Learn more at www.dyinginamerica.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

downloads_wordmark_white_on_coralMany thanks as usual to all of the supporters who have made donations at Patreon.com/eolu! I am forever grateful for your generosity. You can become a patron for just $1 or $2 per month by signing up at Patreon.com/eolu.

I’d also like to thank all the listeners who have written in over the past few months to express their gratitude for this podcast and for the EOL University Interview Series! I couldn’t do this without you showing up to listen in and join the conversation. Thank you to Susan O’Brien, Terry Lindsley, Don Dahlheimer, Karen Britton, Marzette Ellis, and Louise Kelly for your messages of support! 

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today I welcome Carolyn Jones an award-winning filmmaker who has created the Dying in America Project. Her project consists of interviews with 50 hospice and palliative care nurses, and will follow the journeys of four hospice patients when it has been completed. Carolyn will share her inspiration for the project and the goals she has for the future.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How Carolyn’s past experiences led to this project
  • How Carolyn created the Dying in America videos
  • What can be learned from the Dying in America website
  • How Carolyn hopes this project will help change the way we die in this country

Carolyn Jones is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker who specializes in telling stories that shed light on issues of global concern. Her first book, Living Proof: Courage in the Face of AIDS, was published by Abbeville Press and accompanied by shows in Tokyo, Berlin, the USA, and at the United Nations World AIDS Conference. She directed a television series for Oxygen Media called Womenshands as well as Women… on Family, a program for PBS. Carolyn founded the non-profit 100 People Foundation which creates educational films and curricula for school children worldwide. She has spent the last two years interviewing nurses from all over the country for the book and documentary film: The American Nurse. For more information about Carolyn and Dying in America, visit the websites below. The Dying in America website, supported by a grant from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, is the first phase of the project, which will culminate in a feature length documentary that will seek to change the way Americans confront death.

Websites: www.carolynjones.com

                www.dyinginamerica.org 

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode, subscribe on iTunes and leave a review if you enjoy this content!

Until next time …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready          Love Your Life

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Ep. 112 Grace and Grit: Conscious Love & Conscious Dying with Ken Wilber

Learn how Treya Wilber’s spiritual practice helped her transcend fear and die consciously as told in Ken Wilber’s book Grace and Grit.

PodcastWilber

wilber2EdIn this episode I share a powerful and heartfelt interview with Ken Wilber where we discuss the subject of “Conscious Dying” and how the life and death of his wife Treya so beautifully teach us to live and die consciously, as told in the book Grace and Grit.

Website: kenwilber.com

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

IMG_0371I’m still in Italy as this broadcast airs but will be returning to Colorado in a few days. Check out the photos from my last days of travel on Instagram and Facebook!

Hopefully I’ve made progress on my new book, too!

Patreonbecome2xAs always this podcast is made possible through your generous donations at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you so much to those of you who have been chipping in every month to help defray the costs of producing and broadcasting this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series! Go to Patreon.com/eolu to become a patron!

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Whether or not death and dying are issues that concern you at this time in your life, you will find value in listening to Ken’s discussion of this important subject. Each of us must come to terms with our mortality in the physical realm and be prepared for an unknown future. Each of us also must face losing those we deeply love, and caring for them through illness and adversity.

We can learn from Ken and Treya’s experiences how to love totally and consciously during our lifetimes – and how to let go of that love and life itself when that time arrives for us.

This interview will cover:

  • The meaning of “conscious dying” from a spiritual perspective
  • Ken’s caregiver journey and how it became his spiritual path
  • How Ken and Treya “carried one another’s pain” during the course of her illness and dying process
  • The Buddhist practice of tonglen and why it was important to Treya
  • How the term “passionate equanimity” describes Treya’s approach to living and dying

Ken Wilber is a philosopher, sage, author and integral theorist who has been called “the Einstein of Consciousness.” He is:

  • The most translated writer on consciousness studies in the United States
  • Author of 22 books on spirituality and science –
    • A Theory of Everything
    • A Brief History of Everything
    • Sex, Ecology and Spirituality
    • The Integral Vision
  • Creator of Integral Theory – a model for organizing different perspectives of life and consciousness

His book Grace and Grit chronicles the life and death of his second wife Treya Killam Wilber.

Get Grace and Grit on Amazon.

I hope you enjoyed this interview and have been inspired to take up your own spiritual practice to help you live with “passionate equanimity.”

There will be a new episode every Monday so come back again and learn with me! If you like this content please leave a review on iTunes.

Until next week…

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                        Love Your Life.

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Ep. 111 Moments of Life Campaign: Hope Through Hospice with Anita Brikman

Learn how this program of the NHPCO is helping to change public perception of hospice.

PodcastMoments

Anita2014croppedIn this episode I share an interview with Anita Brikman, VP of Strategic Communications for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO.) We will discuss the “Moments of Life” Campaign, which promotes public awareness of hospice and how choosing hospice at the end of life is not “giving up.”

Learn more at https://moments.nhpco.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the time of this broadcast I am still traveling through Italy and biking in the Puglia region! I’ll be gathering information and writing stories for a new book on grief.

You can follow photos of my journey on Instagram and Facebook if you are interested.

Patreonbecome2xAs always I am infinitely grateful to all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu who have been making monthly contributions to keep this show and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air! Your support means so much to me! If you would like to become a patron or learn more about it go to Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Anita Brikman and I will discuss the NHPCO’s public awareness campaign Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice. You’ll enjoy hearing about the creation of this beautiful campaign and how it might benefit you and your community. Watch this brief video about the campaign:

In this interview you will learn:

  • How the Moments of Life campaign is changing misperceptions about hospice care
  • How cultural barriers to hospice care are being broken down by the Moments of Life videos
  • What tools are avaiable on the Moments of Life website for patients and providers
  • How you can help spread the word about this campaign in your own community
  • How to submit a story to the NHPCO to be part of the campaign

Anita Brikman joined NHPCO in September of 2013 as the senior vice president of strategic communications and spokesperson for the national organization, which represents 1,600 hospice and palliative care providers with 3,400 locations across the United States, and more than 60,000 individual members. NHPCO’s affiliates, the National Hospice Foundation and Hospice Action Network, promote access to this end-of-life benefit and advocate to lawmakers and regulators about its vital importance to patients and families.

I hope you’ll visit Moments of Life and read or watch the beautiful stories of hospice patients there!

Thanks for tuning in and remember there will be a new episode every Monday! Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear                      BE Ready                     Love Your Life

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Ep. 109 Twenty Years of “Dying Well” – A Conversation with Ira Byock, MD

Learn from palliative care thought leader Dr. Ira Byock how end-of-life care has changed over the past 2 decades since his book “Dying Well” was published.

PodcastByock

IralaughingIn this episode I share a recent interview with Dr. Ira Byock that celebrates the 20th anniversary of his book Dying Well and features his wise perspective on end-of-life care “then and now.”

Learn more about Dr. Byock at www.irabyock.org.

Get Dying Well at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you listen to this broadcast I am currently in Italy–traveling and doing research for my new book on grief (also eating … a lot!) This episode has been pre-recorded (along with several others) so that there will be no interruptions in the podcast. If you want to see photos of my journey follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is generously sponsored by donations on my page at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you to all of my patrons–your support means everything to me!! Submit your questions for the next “Hospice Happy Hour” Q&A Session here and I’ll answer them next month. You can become a patron for just $1 or $2 per month and you’ll receive access to the Q&A recordings, the Top 10 Interviews from EOLU, and the opportunity to have your work promoted on this podcast. Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

FEATURED PRESENTATION:

Read the transcript of this interview here:

EOLU17Byock

In this interview I will talk with Dr. Ira Byock about his groundbreaking book Dying Well: The Prospect for Growth at the End of Life which was published in 1997. We discuss:

  • How he first got interested in hospice care during his residency training
  • What inspired him to write Dying Well
  • How writing the book helped him heal his own grief over his father’s death
  • Changes he has seen in hospice and palliative care over the past 20 years (“the good, the bad, and the ugly”)
  • Where we should be focusing our efforts now to continue to improve the end of life for everyone
  • The upcoming Symposium on Palliative Care, Pain Management and Whole Person Care where Dr. Byock will be a presenter
  • Where to purchase Dying Well

Download the Readers Discussion Guide for Dying Well here.

Dr. Ira Byock 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.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode of the podcast! If you enjoy this content please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes – it will help other listeners find the podcast.

Meanwhile remember ….

Face Your Fears.                       BE Ready.                      Love Your Life.

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