End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 59 How to Avoid ‘Compassion Fatigue’ for Caregivers and End-of-Life Workers

This week Dr. Karen Wyatt addresses ‘compassion fatigue,’ which is an occupational hazard for those who care for others who are suffering emotionally or physically.

Death Expo is coming up November 10-13, 2016 and you can register by going to DeathExpo.com. There will be 12 speakers on various aspects of death, dying and bereavement, so be sure to sign up for this FREE virtual conference!

You can help support EOLU by going to Patreon.com/eolu and making a donation of $1 or $2 per month to help defray the expenses of creating the interview series and this podcast. Thank you to all of the current “Patrons” who are offering their support – it is much appreciated!

Today’s discussion centers around Compassion Fatigue and you will learn:

  • What is compassion fatigue
  • Who is susceptible to compassion fatigue
  • The signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue
  • Tips to prevent it:
    • Regular exercise
    • Adequate sleep
    • Healthy diet
    • Journaling
    • Deep breathing
    • Mindfulness meditation
    • Witnessing perspective (Galaxy view)
    • Prayer and contemplation
    • Self-love
  • See the links below to get companion resources for this talk

Smoothie recipes: smoothie-recipes

Journaling Starter Kit: journalingstarterkit

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!!!

Aging, End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 53 August End of Month Update on the End-of-Life

It’s the end of August and time for another End of Month Update on the End-of-Life. Today Dr. Wyatt discusses the following stories from the news and social media:

  • Baycrest Health Sciences reported a study that ongoing mental stimulation for the elderly can counteract the contribution of the Western diet toward cognitive decline
  • Some hospitals are creating Acute Care for Elders units to ensure that the elderly receive focused care that will enable them to return to a functional level and be able to return home. There are ~200 such units in the US right now.
  • UCLA’s Geriatric unit has found significant overmedication of their elderly patients and has hired a pharmacist to help adjust medications for their patients – reported in Washington Post
  • CMS encouraging states to use Medicaid dollars to pay for in-home care for their elderly rather than nursing home stays
  • Pilot Study shows that offering intensive education for in-home caregivers helps decrease ER visits and hospitalizations
  • Illinois law regulates training standards for Alzheimer’s caregivers
  • Revised “Demoralization Scale” for evaluating patients decline in morale during cancer treatment
  • Patients who use emotional support and acceptance as coping strategies have increased quality of life, decreased anxiety and depression compared to patients who resort to denial and self-blame
  • Story of Disney Princess Party held for the daughter of a young mother who is dying of brain cancer
  • Story of California woman with ALS who held a 2-day “going away” party before using the assisted dying law to end her life

Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! Remember you can support this show and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on Patreon.com/eolu.

Face Your Fear.         BE Ready.          Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 48 July End of Month Update on the End-of-Life with Dr. Karen Wyatt

 

In this episode Dr. Wyatt thanks her newest Patreon supporter, Elaine den Hoed. If you’d like to make a small donation to help cover the expenses of this podcast and the EOLU interview series go to www.patreon.com/eolu. Your help is greatly appreciated!

This episode includes:

  • Nebraska’s plan to improve services for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients
  • “Memory Cafes” taking place in Minnesota
  • Study that looked at the utilization of Assisted Dying laws and found that none of the feared consequences have occurred: usage has been very low and there has been no “slippery slope” decline to euthanasia
  • University of Vermont study showed significant disparity between physicians’ estimations of prognosis and patients’ understanding of their own prognosis, pointing out the need for better  doctor-patient communication
  • Survey of Hem-Oncology MD’s showed that they feel patient’s unrealistic expectations of cure or prolonged life are the most common barrier to quality end-of-life care
  • Study that found Palliative Care conversations about patient prognosis created PTSD  for family members has been widely criticized for the way it was set up
  • Seniors are the fastest growing group of social media users
  • Article discussing mourning rituals among animals
  • Stephen Hawking declares “There is no afterlife.”
  • Photo of fatal motorcycle crash site in Kentucky shows what some believe is a “spirit” hovering over the site
  • Elderly couple in San Antonio who both have dementia died within 3 hours of one another while holding hands

Thanks for tuning in to the EOLU podcast! Be sure to come back every Monday and share these episodes with someone else who might find them helpful!

Remember:

Face Your Fears.          BE Ready.             Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 44 June End of Month Update on the End-of-Life with Dr. Karen Wyatt

As the month of June comes to an end Dr. Wyatt offers a summary of some of the interesting articles and posts on the end-0f-life that have been published during the month. The discussion includes:

  • A study from UNC showed that 3/4 of younger cancer patients (<65 years of age) with incurable disease receive  high rates of hospitalization and aggressive treatment during the last 30 days of life.
  • Dr. Ira Byock wrote an article “Why Do We Pay for Bad Healthcare” that was published online in STAT News. He questions why we continue to offer care with unproven benefits like feeding tubes in dementia patients and multiple-dose radiation for bone mets (rather than single-dose).
  • A survey of ICU nurses showed that very few are likely to be included in palliative care conversations with patients and their families. Obstacles mentioned are lack of training, not being asked for input by doctors, emotional toll of these discussions.
  • Arcadia Healthcare Solutions report that spending on people who die in a hospital is about 7 times greater than spending on patients who die at home.
  • Measure introduced in Congress by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham to create a national “Care Corps” (similar to Peace Corps) that would train young volunteer caregivers to meet the pending caregiver shortage.
  • Results of recent caregiver survey discussed which shows demographics of current family caregivers.
  • UK Survey reveals concerns of LGBT patients about accessing quality EOL care including fears of discrimination, concerns about getting spiritual needs met, unique family and support network structure, difficulty obtaining grief and bereavement support.
  • Reminder not to post “RIP” on social media sites after a death unless you are certain that family members and loved ones have been notified of the death.
  • Essay by Eric Weiner on his discover that in Bhutanese culture people contemplate their own death 5 times per day (and Bhutan has been named one of the happiest countries on the planet.)
  • Notable deaths in June: Muhammad Ali;  Dr.Dennis McCullough, founder of the Slow Medicine movement; mass shooting on June 12th in Orlando.
  • Tribute to Julianna Snow, 5 y.o. with progressive neurological disease who chose heaven rather than continuing painful treatments for her terminal disease.

Thanks for tuning in to the EOLU Podcast! I’m so honored to be able to share these thoughts and observations about the end-of-life with you.

If you are interested in offering your support to EOLU go to Patreon.com/eolu and contribute just $1 or $2 per month. You’ll receive some special bonuses if you offer your support! Also you can help out by going to iTunes and leaving a review, sharing this podcast with others, and sending me your comments!