End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 213 Making Sense of Death by Planning Ahead with Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante

Learn about educational planning tools that are available for end-of-life navigators and teachers to use with their clients.

PodcastLazarPante2

This week I welcome back to the podcast Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante of WillowEOL.com who will tell us about the free tools they offer to assist with end-of-life planning and a new workbook they have created (available to purchase). We will also discuss the importance of end-of-life planning and sharing our wishes with our loved ones. Learn more at their website:

www.WillowEOL.com

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Why people should think in advance about the legacy they will leave behind
  • How to create a meaningful legacy for your loved ones
  • What steps baby boomers need to take now to be better prepared for the end of life
  • 9 things to include in an end-of-life plan
  • Free tools for planning ahead available at WillowEol.com
  • A helpful end-of-life planning workbook available for teachers and navigators to use with their clients
  • How to work with Reena and Michelle at a retreat, workshop or speaking event

Your mortality is an opportunity in disguise.

-WillowEOL.com

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/eolu, especially my new supporter Kathy Breakwellyour contribution means  everything to me!

 

EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 195 Why Death is Life’s Best-Kept Secret

Learn how to live your best life by embracing your mortality.

PodcastWisdom

In Part 8 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll summarize the 7 lessons presented in the previous episodes and discuss the mindset we need to adopt in order to live fully and peacefully as mortal beings. Find out my tips and guideposts for living a death-aware life no matter what blessings or challenges we are given to navigate. Listen to Parts 1-6 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • Why each day should be a “good day to die”
  • How to carry death with you at all times as your wise advisor
  • How all 7 lessons from mortality fit and flow together:
    • Suffering
    • Love
    • Forgiveness
    • Presence
    • Purpose
    • Surrender
    • Impermanence
  • Why life is like an episode of “Chopped” cooking show: the “ingredients” life gives you are always a surprise and your task is to make something beautiful and delicious from them
  • 5 tips for living a death-aware life each and every day

Nake nula waun: I am ready for whatever comes.

– Lakota Sioux battle cry

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/eolu, especially my new Patrons: Jennifer Turner, Laura Sodders and Tom Johnson-Medland!

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast, mortal wisdom, Spirituality

Ep. 191 The Power of the Broken Heart: Why Love is the Answer

Learn how love can transform and heal our lives even during our last days.

PodcastLove

In Part 6 of the Mortal Wisdom Series I’ll discuss how our broken hearts allow us to expand our capacity to carry and transmit pure Love. Throughout life we are broken open by love in many different ways and must learn to remain open to love rather than hardened and resistant to it so that we can find peace at the end of life. These are the lessons we can learn from our mortality and how to thrive in life while knowing that death awaits. Listen to Parts 1- 5 first if you haven’t heard them yet!

Mortalwisdom

Listen here:

 

This episode includes:

  • The story of my “Love Project”
  • The importance of love for those at the end of life
  • How forgiveness makes room for even greater love
  • The many ways love can break our hearts
  • Why we need to remain open to love even after we have been hurt
  • The “violin metaphor” and why we should allow love to hollow us out
  • Practices for opening to love

Carry your heart through this world like a life-giving sun.

-Hafez

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/eolu, especially my new Patrons, Meina Dubetz and Deborah Luscomb!

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 146 What the End-of-Life Movement Can Learn from the Natural Childbirth Movement – Part 2

Learn about the obstacles facing the end-of-life movement as we try to improve our approach to death and dying in society.

 

PodcastMovement

Slide1In Part 2 of this discussion I’ll look at the major “threats” to the advancement of improved care for the dying and dead in our society and how we might overcome them. Be sure to listen to Part 1 and download the original article below if you want to know more.

What the EOL movement can learn from natural childbirth

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

The links mentioned in this episode include:

A Year of Reading Dangerously reading group – http://eoluniversity.com/yearofreading

Episode 128: Why We Need Death Education for Everyone Right Now

Episode 129: How to Teach Death-Ed to College Students with Stacy Smith

Episode 130: How Death Awareness Can Change the World

Episode 132: What it Takes to be a GREAT Death-Ed Teacher

Slide01Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class if you are interested in teaching your own class. You’ll be on the mailing list for the next Work Group for Death & Dying Class Teachers.

Sign up for the guidelines here.

Learn about our upcoming Work Group here

 

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today we will discuss the potential threats or obstacles to advancing the end-of-life movement in our society:

  • Lure of technology that attracts people to seek more and more treatment at the end of life rather than seeking out alternatives.
  • Desire for convenience
  • Fear of pain

Take-away messages from this 2-part series include:

  • We need a unified message for the cause of improving our society’s approach to death and dying.
  • Educate, educate, educate.
  • Create public-professional coalitions in every community
  • Be in it for the long haul

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content consider leaving a review on iTunes. Until next week …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready          Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 137 Why You Should Forgive Now Rather Than On Your Deathbed

Learn why and how to start a forgiveness practice now instead of waiting until your last days.

PodcastForgiveness

dove-2516641_640In this episode I share my thoughts about the importance of forgiveness and why you shouldn’t wait until the end of life to start practicing it. I’ve been working on it all my adult life and I can guarantee you it’s a worthwhile endeavor!

Read the companion blog here.

Download the Forgiveness Tool Kit.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

decisionsignFor the month of April I’m hosting the 10-day S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge to help you get your advance directives completed in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day. You’ll be guided step-by-step to figure out what really matters to you so that you can utilize that information as you fill out your living will and healthcare proxy forms. Sign up here.

 

Slide01If you are interested in teaching a death and dying class at some point in the future you can download the Teaching Guidelines here! When you sign up you’ll be on the mailing list to learn about the upcoming Work Group and Mastermind for death and dying teachers!

Get the Guidelines here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Many of my hospice patients have been concerned about practicing forgiveness before they died. I sat with them at their bedsides as they struggled to let go of their anger and bitterness so that they could die in peace.

But I learned that it is possible to start the process of forgiveness now so that the task will be much easier at the end of life. Here are some of the mindset shifts I’ve found are helpful as you learn to forgive (listen to the episode to hear the details):

  • Life is a classroom – you can learn from any experience
  • You are not entitled to a life free from difficulties
  • The past no longer exists except in your memory where you keep negative events alive
  • It’s not your job to punish those who have harmed you (and trying to do that just hurts you even more)
  • You can make yourself whole again without getting an apology
  • The 4-View Forgiveness can help you get a broader perspective on past events
  • Simple rituals can help you let go of the past

Get the Forgiveness Tool Kit to learn more about strategies for practicing forgiveness on a daily basis so that you will be free of the burden of resentment at the end of life. Sign up for the kit here.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! Leave a review on iTunes if you like this content (it really makes a difference) and go to Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to become a supporter!

Until next week remember …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 136 Art and Conversations About Death with Molly Stuart

Learn about Molly’s innovative workshops on end-of-life planning that utilize art projects to inspire deep conversations.

PodcastStuart

MollyIn this episode I share an interview with Molly Stuart who is a lawyer, artist, chaplain and hospice volunteer. She teaches a wonderful workshop on end-of-life planning that includes art to help people uncover their deepest values and concerns.

Learn more about Molly’s work here.

Watch this episode on YouTube to view Molly’s slides:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

decisionsignThe month of April features National Healthcare Decisions Day and in honor of that event I am sharing the 10-day S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge – a free challenge that will help you get your end-of-life planning done with guidance along the way by email.

Click here to learn more and sign up.

 

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously if you’d like to read one book a month with us about death and dying! Sign up here.

Slide01

Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class and you’ll be on the list to hear about upcoming Work Groups and a Mastermind Group for Death and Dying Class teachers. Download the guidelines here.

 

Thank you to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Kathy Lynch and thanks also to Cathy Duke for increasing your pledge! I’m so grateful for your contributions!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

My guest Molly Stuart shares information about her innovative end-of-life planning workshops. We discuss:

  • How she got interested in teaching about end of life issues
  • The complicated nature of advance care planning
  • The 3-part workshop she designed, which includes:
    • Practical end-of-life medical and legal issues
    • Emotional aspects of living while knowing you’re going to die
    • Transformation and legacy
  • How Molly uses art to address:
    • Loss
    • Meaning
    • Regret
    • Legacy
  • The creative projects her students create as part of her workshops
  • How to create a legacy art project after the death of a loved one

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

Until next time …

Face Your Fear         BE Ready            Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief

Ep. 134 The Hidden Grief of Life’s Transitions with Rev. Terri Daniel

Learn how grief over the death of loved one is compounded by other losses that occur simultaneously.

podcastdaniel

ALDanielcroppedIn this episode I share a conversation with Rev. Terri Daniel about the “other grief” that occurs throughout life with or without the death of a loved one. We’ll talk about this hidden grief and why it is important to acknowledge it as an important part of life.

Learn more about Terri’s workshop at http://spiritualityandgrief.com

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

It’s not too late to sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join us in reading books about death, dying and the afterlife throughout 2018! Learn more and sign up here.

Thank you to all of the donors who are contributing to my page at Patreon.com/eolu each month! It makes a huge difference and I’m very grateful! Thank you to Suzanne O’Brien RN and Doulagivers.com for being a “legacy supporter” for the past 18 months!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

In this interview Rev. Terri Daniel and I talk about the big picture of grief throughout life’s transitions and how it often goes unnoticed as we focus primarily on grief after a death occurs. We talk about:

  • Continuing Bonds Theory
  • “Other” types of loss
    • Material loss
    • Relationship loss
    • Intrapsychic loss
    • Functional loss
    • Role loss
    • System loss
  • Four additional types of grief
    • Relinquishment grief
    • Tribal/National grief
    • Vicarious grief
    • Collective grief
  • The need for ritual and ceremony to process grief
  • Are there avoidable vs. unavoidable losses?

Rev. Terri Daniel is a clinical chaplain and end-of-life educator certified in death, dying and bereavement by the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Her work focuses on assisting dying and grieving individuals to discover a more spiritually-spacious understanding of loss and trauma.

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

Until next time remember …

Face Your Fear          BE Ready           Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 133 Journaling as a Practice for Living and Dying

Learn about the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of keeping a journal and why you should start doing it!

podcastjournaling

redjournalIn this episode I share my thoughts on my own journaling practice and how it has changed my life. I also relate a story of a woman who kept a “hospice journal” during her last days of life. You’ll find plenty of reasons to start your own journaling practice and you can download the Journaling Starter Kit below if you are interested!

Click here to get the Journaling Starter Kit!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and start reading a book each month of 2018 about death and dying. It’s a great educational and inspirational experience! Click here to learn more and sign up.

Stay tuned for more information on my current Work Group for Death & Dying Teachers. We have gathered together a fabulous group of dedicated women who are going to be starting new classes on death and dying this year! I’ll be reporting on it in future episodes.

Thank you to my latest contributor on Patreon.com/eolu: Birgitte Due Jensen Koch! I appreciate your generosity and support so much! I’m grateful to everyone who is helping me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air by making a financial commitment at Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This episode was inspired in part by a message I received from Evan Mercer about his wife Julie’s hospice journal, which he shared at her memorial service and in a video on YouTube:

I have been journaling for much of my life and have found it to be very beneficial in many ways. So I wanted to share this message to encourage everyone to give journaling a try and find out for yourself how it can help you. Here are some of the benefits I’ve received:

  • Creates discipline and a routine for my day
  • Helps me ventilate my emotions
  • Organizes my thoughts
  • Allows to analyze and process my judgments toward other people
  • Shows me another perspective and reveals my higher wisdom

Studies have shown that journaling has health benefits for people with chronic illnesses like asthma and arthritis and also for those with terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS and cancer. I believe that keeping a “Hospice Journal” as Julie did can help terminal patients cope with a range of vacillating emotions as death approaches, discern what really matters in life, and leave behind a legacy for loved ones to cherish.

Journaling has also been shown to improve immune function and alleviate stress. Men seem to benefit from journaling even more than women and writing a journal by hand is more beneficial than typing on a keyboard.

If you want to try journaling for yourself get the Journaling Starter Kit and see where it takes you! Download the Starter Kit here!

Tune in next week for a new episode and please leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this content!

Until next time remember:

Face Your Fear           BE Ready          Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 127 The Consequences of Ignoring Death

Learn how our 100-year history of ignoring death has led to a death-phobic society and the consequences we face as individuals.

PodcastIgnoreDeath

DEATHEDforeveryoneIn this episode I share my thoughts on the negative effects, for individuals and for society in general, of our dysfunctional relationship with death. This topic leads into my theme for 2018: Death Education for Everyone, which you’ll be learning more about in upcoming episodes!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

There’s still plenty of time to join the year-long reading group for 2018: A Year of Reading Dangerously. We just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air for January and are moving on to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty for our February selection. Click here to join the reading group!

Huge thanks to all of my current supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! I appreciate your generosity very much and also the emotional and spiritual support I derive from knowing that you are listening and that you care about the work I’m doing!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

For the past century we here in the U.S. (and other developed nations, as well) have been gradually slipping into a state of ignorance about death. With the rise of modern medicine and the funeral industry, death has been removed from the home and from day-to-day life, allowing us to shove death into the far reaches of consciousness and to deny to ourselves that it exists.

But death is an essential component of life that cannot be ignored without causing some negative consequences. Today I’ll talk about these factors that result from ignoring death:

  • We think there’s always more time
  • We forget that life is fragile
  • We don’t cherish our relationships
  • We don’t appreciate change
  • We are unable to find meaning in life
  • We don’t live life fully

Here are the quotes I included in today’s discussion:

“Man … lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama

“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is true and important.” – Steve Jobs

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” – Norman Cousins

“Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.” – Benjamin Franklin

So commit to start recognizing the presence of Death in your life every day until you can embrace and appreciate Death as a necessary component of Life. Then go out and start teaching other people to do the same thing!

Tune in each Monday for a new episode. If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes!

Until next week ..

Face Your Fear              BE Ready            Love Your Life

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End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

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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End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 76 What My Hospice Patients Wanted You to Know

What advice do hospice patients have about how we should live?

podcasthospice

 

 

In this episode I’ll share some of the wisdom I gathered from my hospice patients as they faced the end of life. This simple advice can help us live more fully with less fear and worry.

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776This podcast is sponsored through the EOLU donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. By contributing just $1 or $2 per month you can help support the podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series. If you  become a supporter I will happily promote your book, website, cause or organization on a future episode of the podcast!

Today I have a huge thank-you for my new patron on Patreon.com/eolu: Kerrie Noonan. Thank you for your support Kerrie!

In the News:

  1. An article on Time.com listed “7 New Jobs That Are So ‘2017’” and included Death Doula as one of the new occupations! What’s great about this is the fact that a major news outlet is breaking through the taboo and using the word “death” and that there has been a recognition of the importance of people who assist others at the end of life. In Episode 71 I listed Death Doula as one of the trends for the year and included links to several training programs for becoming a doula. If you are considering a career change or looking for some post-retirement work you might want to become a midwife for the dying. There will be a huge demand in the very near future for people fulfilling this role.
  2. In a story reported on the Today show we learned that 31-year-old actor Chris Salvatore invited his 89-year-old neighbor to live with him when she was no longer able to live on her own. Salvatore and Norma live in the same apartment building and had been friends for about 5 years when she was hospitalized with leukemia and respiratory problems. When doctors told Norma she would have to go to a long-term care facility because she had no family members to care for her, Chris stepped up and took her into his home. He now provides care for her as she faces the end of her life. Doctors didn’t expect Norma to live through the holidays but she is thriving in her new home. This example of selfless generosity is exactly what we need as we move into the future where 25% of Baby Boomers will have no family members available to provide care to them. Well done Chris Salvatore – a huge salute to you from End-of-Life University!

What My Hospice Patients Wanted You to Know:

Here is some of the wisdom my hospice patients shared with me as they neared the end of their lives. I promised them that I would bring their messages to you since they are no longer here to speak for themselves.

The spiritual lessons I learned have been compiled in the book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying. The following tips are the additional pieces of advice they had for all of us:

(Read the full blog post here.)

  • “What seems important now doesn’t matter in the end.”
  • “Don’t worry so much about diet and exercise.”
  • “Your doctor doesn’t have all the answers for you.”
  • “Your life’s purpose isn’t what you think.”
  • “Religion is less important than learning how to love others.”
  • “Dying isn’t as scary as you think.”
  • “You’re going to die anyway so you might as well be ready.”

Listen to this episode so you can learn more about each of these statements. And then maybe you’ll be inspired to change some aspects of your life and prepare for the very end!

Be sure to subscribe to End-of-Life Interview Series (if you haven’t already) so you can listen to our fantastic educational interviews with EOL experts every month. Go to www.eoluniversity.com to register. And if you’d like to support EOLU and this podcast check out the donation page at Patreon.com/eolu.

Tune in next week for another new episode and until then remember:

Face Your Fears.                      BE Ready.                    Love Your Life.

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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.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 58 Why Some Doctors Struggle With the End of Life

Click here to read the companion blog on Huffington Post.

In this episode Dr. Karen Wyatt discusses the fact that according to the Nebraska End-of-Life Survey, even though 70% of patients surveyed want their doctors to discuss their end-of-life options but only 21% of them have actually had those conversations.

In addition, while 86% of doctors agree that they themselves would enroll in hospice if terminally ill, only 27% of them are comfortable discussing hospice as an option with terminally ill patients.

There is a huge disconnect between what patients want from their doctor and what they receive and also what doctors would do for themselves at the end-of-life and what they do for their patients.

Today’s conversation looks at reasons for this disconnect to point the way toward changes that are needed in how medicine approaches the end of life. Here are some of the attitudes and mindsets that make it difficult for some doctors to address death and dying, based on conversations between Dr. Wyatt and her colleagues:

  • “It’s not my job. My passion is for saving lives.” Ideally doctors must maintain their passion for life, but must also make room for death, since every patient will ultimately die. Doctors need to cultivate a view of life that includes the reality of death.
  • “I don’t have enough time and the end of life is less important than other issues I’m expected to discuss with patients.” The average primary care visit with an elderly patient last 15.7 minutes and covers 6 topics. Doctors need to view the end of life as the final stage of development and give it the same attention as the other stages of development.
  • “Death represents failure.” While death in general is a natural process and not a failure, for doctors the death of a patient can be a devastating experience, especially if it is unexpected. Doctors carry an enormous burden of responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their patients and mistakes can lead to complications and death. For doctors it is difficult to carry both responsibilities: to preserve life and promote health while also honoring death in its place.
  • “I don’t want to take away my patient’s hope.” Many doctors recognize that optimism and positivity are essential for a patient’s survival and wellbeing. But they view curative treatments as the source of that hope while failing to recognize that hope has many different meanings for patients. They promote ongoing treatment in order to keep hope alive while failing to offer emotional and spiritual support that can foster hope even in the face of death.

By recognizing the obstacles that keep doctors from engaging in end-of-life interactions with patients we can help overcome them over time. It’s important to have compassion for everyone involved as we try to move forward and evolve care at the end of life in our society.

You can support EOLU by making a small pledge of financial support ($1 or $2 per month) at Patreon.com/eolu. Be sure to tune in every Monday for a new episode, leave comments and write reviews on iTunes! 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!!!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Grief, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 56 End-of-Life Book Showcase!

In this episode Dr. Karen Wyatt highlights several excellent books about the end of life that have been sent to her by their authors. If you have considered starting an end-of-life book club (as mentioned in Episode 33) you’ll find many great books to choose from in this list. Here are the book titles and authors, along with links for learning more or purchasing the books:

  • “My Voice, My Choice: A Practical Guide to Writing a Meaningful Healthcare Directive”; by Anne Elizabeth Denny; www.anneelizabethdenny.com
  • “LastingMatters Organizer: Where Loved Ones Find What Matters Most”; by Barbara Bates Sedoric: www.lastingmatters.com
  • “Caring for Dying Loved Ones: A Helpful Guide for Families and Friends”; by Joanna Lillian Brown; www.caringfordyinglovedones.com
  • “Caregivers: Angels Without Wings”; by Peg Crandall; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement”; by Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Encountering the Edge: What People Told Me Before They Died”; by Karen B. Kaplan; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Spirit Matters: How to Remain Fully Alive with a Life-Limiting Illness”; by Judy Flickinger; www.judyflickinger.com
  • “Spiritual Perspectives on Death & Dying”; by Bernice H. Hill, PhD; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully: A Journey with Cancer and Beyond”; by Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Daddy this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad”; by Julie Saeger Nierenberg; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey Through Grief”; by Elaine Mansfield; www.elainemansfield.com
  • “Laughing in a Waterfall: A Mother’s Memoir”; by Marianne Dietzel; Link to Amazon.com
  • “Turn Right, Good Moon: Conversations With a Dying Mother”; by L. E. Moore; www.turnrightgoodmoon.com
  • “She Would Draw Flowers: Poems from a Young Artist Awakening to Life, Love and Death”; by Kirsten Savitri Bergh; Link to Amazon.com
  • “And Now, Still: Grave & Goofy Poems and a Bit of Prose”; by Reggie Marra; www.reggiemarra.com
  • “Facing Darkness, Finding Light: Life After Suicide”; by Steffany Barton, RN; Link to Amazon.com
  • “What to Do When You’re Dead: A Former Atheist Interviews the Source of Infinite Being”; by Sondra Sneed; Link to Amazon.com

I hope you’ll check out these amazing and inspirational books and include some of them in your book club or add them to your library!

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 54 Film: Love in Our Own Time with Tom Murray

Join Dr. Karen Wyatt and her guest Tom Murray, director of the beautiful feature-length documentary Love in Our Own TimeThey will discuss the making of this film, which follows the lives of ordinary Australians as they face the big transitions of life: birth and death. “Love in Our Own Time is a film that speaks directly to its audience about the nature of life and death. It is a journey to the heart of what it is to be human that gives us all pause to question the lives we lead.” (from the film’s synopsis) Tom Murray reveals his own inspirations for creating the film and the transformation he experienced during the process.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How Tom Murray was inspired to create this film after living and working amongst the Yolngu Aboriginal people
  • How this film is being used in medical education settings to increase awareness about the end-of-life
  • How you might arrange a screening of Love in Our Own Time for your own community

Subscribe to End-of-Life University at http://www.eoluniversity.com so you can receive notification of all the fantastic new interviews on end-of-life issues.

Become a supporter of this podcast by making a donation of $1 or $2 per month at http://www.patron.com/eolu! Thanks!

Check out Dr. Wyatt’s books on Amazon:

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. 52 How to Start an End-of-Life Film Series in Your Community

Read the companion blog for this podcast here!

Today Dr. Wyatt shares some tips on starting a film series in your community to encourage conversations about death and dying. Movies are a great way to touch and inspire people and open their hearts and minds to new information. You can get your own film series by following the steps below:

  • Define your target audience – know who you want to serve with this information and how many people you anticipate might attend
  • Find partners – look for organizations in your community that can serve as donors or sponsors
  • Locate a venue – try to find a free space by asking one of your partners to donate the use of their facility
  • Decide what to charge – create a budget and find out if you will need to sell tickets for the event or can ask for donations instead
  • Create an event schedule – decide how long your event should be and whether or not you can include time for a discussion group, panel, or guest lecturer after the film; also choose the day and time for your event so you can book the venue in advance if this is an ongoing monthly series
  • Choose your films – consider both feature films and documentaries as you plan your schedule. Go to eoluniversity.com/films to view a list of suggested films for your series
  • Promote your event – ask your community partners to help you get the word out

Let me know if you decide to do a film series! I would love to hear it turns out!

Remember to go to Patreon.com/eolu if you are interested in supporting this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series with a small donation.

Tune in each Monday for a new episode and remember:

Face Your Fear.           BE Ready.             Love Your Life.

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 49 Alzheimer’s Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes with Dr. Judith London

 

Today Dr. Wyatt is inspired to share an interview with Dr. Judith London, a psychologist who cares for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. If you listened to last week’s podcast you heard a mention of “Memory Cafes” that are being held in Minnesota. Dr. London share her own stories and experiences with creating support groups for Alzheimer’s patients.

This interview will cover:

  • why Dr. London was inspired to work with and write about Alzheimer’s patients
  • what are the major challenges faced by caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients
  • tips for caregivers in relating to their loved ones with Alzheimer’s
  • how hospice and palliative care workers can be more supportive of family caregivers

You can learn more about Dr. London’s work at her website: www.drjudithlondon.com.

Remember you can help support EOLU with just a small donation of $1 or $2 per month. Help keep EOLU on the air! Go to www.patreon.com/eolu and become a patron if you are interested.

Until next week:

Face Your Fears.               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.