End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 171 The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family This Holiday Season

Learn how planning ahead and being ready for the unexpected can be a special gift for your loved ones this year.

PodcastEOLplans

 

During the holidays we all want to find the perfect gift for our family members that will show them our love and bring joy to their lives. But face it … in this age of consumerism most people already have more possessions than they need and we have sadly littered our planet with excessive material goods that no one wants or can use. Here’s an idea for a gift you can give now that will bring peace of mind and relief to your loved ones some day in the future: plan ahead for the end of your life, gather your most important documents, and have a conversation with the people closest to you about your wishes. 

Download the Checklist for this episode here: 

BE Ready

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Support this podcast on Patreon.com/eolu with a small monthly contribution. Thank you to my latest patron Jensen A! Your generosity is much appreciated!

View the latest webinar with Jane Barton: Collaborative Care for Caregivers – How to Ask for Help at this link:

Collaborative Care Webinar

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Creating an end-of-life file that contains all of your most important documents along with your wishes for healthcare and after-death care is a task that will benefit you as well as your loved ones in the future. You will be saving them from a great deal of stress and frustration if they won’t have to search for your papers or guess what you might want for yourself  when you reach the end of life. Why not use the holiday season as a motivator to complete your file and offer as a gift of love to your family!

This episode includes:

  • Ideas for storing your documents
  • Why it’s important to gather important information in one place so your loved ones can find it
  • Why you need to complete your advance directive (or living will) and choose a healthcare proxy now rather than later
  • The benefits of planning your funeral and burial in advance
  • How to view end-of-life planning as a gift of love for those who care about you

Links mentioned in this episode:

Tune in next Monday for another new episode. If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes.

Until next time …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready           Love Your Life

karen-signature

 

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 159 How to Make Difficult End-of-Life Decisions for a Loved One

PodcastDecisions

 

 

purposequestionIn this episode I share my thoughts on how to approach the very difficult task of making an end-of-life decision about the treatment a loved one should receive. Many people are called upon to be decision-makers in these challenging situations and this episode serves as a guide for choosing the best option for someone we love. Download the handout below:

Guide for Difficult EOL Decisions

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

This episode is sponsored by Suzanne O’Brien and her training program for caring for others at the end of life at Doulagivers.com and by your generous donations on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Join the team and receive special bonuses as a thank-you!

Thank you to all of my patrons and sponsors! Your support means everything to me!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Download the handout here:

Guide for Difficult EOL Decisions

Every day families are called upon to make nearly impossible decisions about the type of care a loved one should receive as they near the end of life. Here are some suggestions for how to navigate this challenging situation when there is no advance directive available for guidance:

  • Gather medical information from all healthcare providers involved in care
  • Ask direct questions:
    • What is the diagnosis and what complications have occurred?
    • What is the effectiveness of the recommended treatment?
    • What are the chances for recovery or improvement?
    • Are there side effects from the treatment or will it cause additional suffering?
    • What will happen if treatment is stopped?
    • What would you do if this were your loved one?
  • Get expert advice and guidance from a palliative care team if available in your hospital
  • Remember past conversations with your loved one that might give you clues as to his or her preferences for the end of life
  • Consider the statistics that most Americans prefer to die at home and most do not want aggressive treatment to prolong life in the face of an incurable condition
  • Ask your loved one for guidance by expressing your concern and your desire to make the best decision. Even though your loved one cannot verbalize, they can hear you – listen for any intuitive or “felt” guidance that might come to you about the best choice to make.
  • Be gentle with yourself and recognize that you have done your best in a challenging situation
  • Seek support from others outside your family

Tune in next week for another episode! Share this content with others who might it helpful and consider leaving a review on iTunes.

Until next time …

Face Your Fear        BE Ready         Love Your Life

karen-signature

 

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 78 Change Happens: How to be Prepared for the Ultimate Transition

What does it take to be ready and at peace when you reach the end of life? Here are some thoughts on how to prepare.

 

podcastroadmap

In this episode we’ll take a look at what you need to do to prepare for the future, particularly the end of life. You’ll find out how to BE Ready for whatever life brings your way!

ANNOUNCEMENT:

slide01The Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning Course is finally available! Click here to learn more.

This 4-module course is like having your own personal consultation with an end-of-life physician (me!) who guides you through completing your paperwork one step at a time!

Check it out!

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! THANK YOU to my latest patron Sylvie and to all current patrons!!

IN THE NEWS:

  1. Facebook announces it will offer employees up to 20 days of paid bereavement leave and 6 weeks of paid leave to care for an ill loved one.
  2. A study done by U of Colorado Anschutz showed that oncologists are reluctant to have conversations with patients about their prognosis and patients seem equally unwilling to discuss the difficult facts about their diagnosis. This demonstrates the need for better preparation for the end of life BEFORE the onset of a life-limiting illness.

Change Happens: How to be Prepared for the Ultimate Transition

17153795 - are you ready illustration design over a white backgroundWhat steps should you take now to be fully prepared for later life? I like to break them down into 3 categories: Paperwork, People, and Purpose.

Here are some suggestions for your own preparations:

  1. Paperwork:
  • Make sure you have completed an estate plan and/or will to protect your financial assets
  • Appoint someone to be your financial power of attorney AND a separate  person as your medical power of attorney
  • Complete your advance directive (or living will)
  • Plan for your funeral and burial
  • Gather important documents, account numbers, passwords, etc. into on file where they will be accessible in the future (Check out the BE Ready Checklist for a list of all these documents you should gather)

2. People:

  • Tie up “loose ends” in your life by practicing forgiveness
  • Make amends with the people closest to you
  • Say “I love you” whenever you have the opportunity
  • Talk with your loved ones about your healthcare wishes
  • Talk with your doctors (and also spiritual advisor or attorney if relevant) about your end-of-life wishes
  • Be prepared to care for an ill or dying loved one at home if that should become necessary

3. Purpose:

  • Think about your own sense of meaning and purpose in life–are you living life fully in each moment?
  • Practice being present in the moment by taking up mindfulness or using deep breathing
  • Recognize that your purpose is not really something you hope to accomplish in the future; it lies in how you live your life each moment
  • Face your fear of death so that you can fully prepare and then relax and enjoy all that your life offers to you

Click here to download the End-of-Life Preparedness Assessment to see if you are ready!

Tune in every Monday for a new episode. Until the next time, remember:

Face Your Fears.                     BE Ready.                Love Your Life.

karen-signature

 

 

EOLPodcast, Hospice, Spirituality

Ep. 77 Managing Family Conflict at the End of Life

What do you do when a family (your own or a patient’s) is crumbling due to unhealed resentments and irreconcilable differences? Find out now.

conflictpodcast

 

In today’s episode I’ll share my best tips for helping families move through conflict toward resolution during stressful times like the death of a loved one. I’ve had lots of experience with this work during my years as a hospice doctor so be prepared for a longer-than-usual episode!

Announcements:

slide01My new course Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning is almost ready for release (just a few days away as I record this!) The course is simple yet comprehensive and will help you examine your mindset, values, beliefs, and fears about death before you make decisions about your end-of-life healthcare. Go to eoluniversity.com/roadmap to learn more and sign up to be notified as soon as the course is released.

Sponsorship:

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! THANK YOU to all current patrons!!

Managing Family Conflict at the End of Life:

Families facing the death of a loved one are particularly prone to be divided by the resurgence of old conflicts and resentments. Over my years as a hospice doctor I have seen many families split apart by their differences at a time when they most need to be united.

Most of these families had longstanding grievances that had been buried and ignored over the years, only to rise to the surface under the stress of a loved one’s death. Sibling rivalries, parental favoritism, divorce, and competition for inheritances are the most common reasons for these resentments. In addition many families are also divided over religious and political differences, which is an especially prevalent problem right now.

One of the important functions of hospice staff members and other end-of-life workers is to assist splintered families with healing and resolution of their conflicts, whenever possible. But sometimes we are called to assist our own families when challenges arise. Here are some tips for being a peacemaker for a fractured family:

  • Remain neutral on the issues of conflict. As much as possible leave your own biases, preferences and beliefs at the door if you hope to help resolve a disagreement. This will be much easier if you are not emotionally entangled in the conflict. But even if you are, you need to learn to become a “Witness” to the situation (a higher state of consciousness that allows you remain detached.)
  • Listen to all sides of the argument. Spend time with each person involved in the conflict until you can grasp their perspective. If you are part of the disagreement then at least try to understand the point of view of the others involved in the situation. As soon as you begin to understand how and why the others feel the way they do then you have taken a huge step toward reconciliation.
  • Avoid trigger topics. Political and religious differences may complicate family conflicts at the end of life but are usually not reconcilable. So it is best to “agree to disagree” about these points of view and set them aside so that the focus can be on healing other issues.
  • Be present. By staying calm and unemotional you can prevent the conflict from escalating into an all-out war. Practice mindfulness to help strengthen your ability to be present so that your own emotions don’t flare up when you are trying to help others.
  • Find common ground. As you listen carefully to the stories of each opponent in the disagreement you may recognize certain common threads–areas where they actually share the same perspective without realizing it. Gather these threads so that you can remind those in conflict that are some things they have in common. Help them untie around the things that matter most (like doing what’s best for their loved one.)
  • Learn the wishes of the dying loved one (if possible.) If you can still communicate with the patient you may find out that she has a wish for her family to reconcile. You can use this wish to help draw the combatants together in their desire to please and comfort the one they love. Let the patient’s wishes become a “magnet” around which the rest of the family gradually comes together.
  • Have patience. Don’t try to force a reconciliation by rushing into a family conference or intervention. Allow for some separation initially and let the gaps between individuals gradually begin to close.

The bottom line is that families who don’t wait until the end of life to resolve their differences have a much easier time negotiating the challenges of death and dying. But that’s not the case for most families. Most are left to rehash old sibling issues, betrayals, disappointments, and wounds during the last days of their loved one’s life when they should be sitting at the bedside offering love and comfort.

Start working through your own resentments now–practice love and forgiveness earlier in life and your final days will be blessed. If you need extra help consider checking out the Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning or the book What Really Matters. You’ll find guidance and support from me for your journey!

slide01       wrmflatcover

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! Until next week remember:

Face Your Fears.                 BE Ready.                   Love Your Life.

karen-signature

End of Life, EOLPodcast

Ep. 75 Perfect Your Paperwork: Mistakes to Avoid in Your End-of-Life Planning

It’s not enough to get your paperwork done … make sure it’s done right!

eolmistakes

In this episode we’ll look at several common mistakes people make when doing their advance directives–mistakes that could make it more difficult for their end-of-life wishes to be carried out. Learn how to get your paperwork right so you can relax!

supportonpatreon-e1412764908776This podcast is supported through the generous donations of listeners made on Patreon.com/eolu. When you donate just $1 or $2 per month I will thank you by mentioning your name on the podcast and promoting your cause!

Thank you to my latest patron: Jayne Boulton–I appreciate your support Jayne!

In the News:

An online article from Managed Healthcare Executive asks the question: Can Data Analytics Aid in End-of-Life Care Decisions? The author cites a recent study from JAMA that shows 70% of MD’s reporting that they have not been trained to have end-of-life conversations with patients and 73% of patients over the age of 65 have never had an advance care planning discussion with a doctor.

Medical data analysts have suggested that EHR’s might be useful to help health systems identify patients in need of end-of-life conversations. The article points out that current management of advance directives on EHR’s is poor since on average it requires clicks on 12 different screens to locate a patient’s AD, which takes 1.3 minutes–not fast enough in an emergency situation. In addition many patients at the end of life experience more than 3 transfers to different facilities and their paperwork is often lost in the process.

Much work needs to be done to help patients get their wishes met at the end of life! For that reason I have created a NEW online course to guide people through creating their advance directives, making them legal,  and having conversations with loved ones and doctors about their wishes.

slide01The course “Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning” is self-paced and can be completed any time, anywhere.

I’ve written the course to help people be prepared mentally and emotionally to make end-of-life decisions and avoid the common mistakes discussed below.

Learn more about the course at www.eoluniversity.com/Roadmap.

Common mistakes in end-of-life planning include:

  • Putting it off for a later time
  • Not completing the forms entirely
  • Choosing contradictory options on the forms
  • Choosing the wrong healthcare proxy
  • Getting lost in the details of possible scenarios at the end of life
  • Not discussing plans with the doctor
  • Not expressing wishes to loved ones
  • Not updating end-of-life preferences over time

The Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning is designed to avoid all of these mistakes and to aid in making the right choices for future healthcare needs.

Thanks for tuning in to the podcast! Until next week:

Face Your Fears.                      BE Ready.                   Love Your Life.