How Death Doula Alua Arthur Gets It Done

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In 2012, Alua Arthur quit her legal career to become a death doula. The problem was that she had no idea such a job existed. “All I knew was that there had to be a better way to give support during one of the most lonely and isolating experiences a person can go through,” she says. Now 42, she is a leader in the field of death work and has guided thousands of people and their loved ones through the end-of-life process. She has also trained hundreds of other death doulas through her company, Going With Grace, and is on the board of directors at the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA)

This year, as COVID has forced so many Americans to cope with sudden loss and their own mortality, Arthur has been inundated with new clients and students as well as larger questions about how to handle constant grief. She lives in Los Angeles. Here’s how she gets it done.

On her morning routine:
I usually get up around 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. I’m a night owl, and it helps me in my work because people tend to die between 2:00 and 5:00 a.m. I’m not sure why; there are a lot of different theories about it. But I’m most awake and alert at that time. The witching hours. I love to burn my incense at 4:00 a.m. and greet the crows.

Most mornings I meditate right after I get up. After I meditate, I fill up my gallon jug of water and exercise. I need to sweat and move. I love anything where the instructor is like, “Faster! Go! Only ten more seconds!” Since we can’t do group fitness in person right now, I have to re-create it in my house. It doesn’t work quite the same, because I will stop and eat snacks in the middle of a video. But I’m trying. Exercise and meditation are the things that keep me sane and grounded. They’re the baseline.

On being drawn to end-of-life care:
Being around death has made me more honest. I see that what we don’t say chokes us as we die. People always think they have more time, and when they realize that they don’t, they have regrets about things they haven’t done. I try to do what I feel like doing right now. And if that means eating white-cheddar Cheetos for breakfast, I will. Which is what I did this morning. I won’t always be able to taste delicious things, so let me do it now.

On managing her clients:
I don’t take on more than one client at a time who is imminently dying, because I want to be on call for them. Whatever they need, I will do. When a client with just a couple of weeks or months left first comes to me, we’ll go through the long list of items to consider in death and dying, and then we’ll create a plan. That usually happens over the phone. Then I go to visit, put my hands on them, really see what their physical condition is, and see what kind of support they have.

I continue to visit every week or so until their condition starts deteriorating fast, and then I’m there more often. I might be there when they die, and if I’m not, I’ll come sit with their family or caregivers afterward until the funeral home comes. I may also help wrap up practical affairs — possessions, accounts, life insurance, documents. It’s exhausting for a family to have to think about that when they’re also grieving, and I’m equipped to help. I’ll sit on hold with insurance companies, make funeral arrangements, all that stuff.

Beyond those who are imminently dying, I often have several clients who need end-of-life planning consultations. I can take on a couple of those at a time. That could be someone who has just gone on hospice and it doesn’t look that bad yet, or someone who just received a diagnosis and wants to prepare.

On winding down after an intense day:
I’ll drink wine and hang out with a lover. I’ll go out dancing until 5:00 a.m. Sometimes I just want to shut the brain off after a long day, and the best way to do that is by spending time with friends and people who tickle me. But it’s also good to spend a lot of time alone, which is the default these days. I like silence.

On becoming a death doula:
I spent the bulk of my career in legal services in L.A., working with victims of domestic violence. Then there were some big budget cuts, and I wound up getting stuck doing paperwork in the courthouse basement. I was already depressed and burnt out, but it blossomed into an actual clinical depression. So I took a leave of absence and traveled to Cuba. While I was there, I met a German woman who had uterine cancer and was doing a bucket list trip. We talked a lot about her illness, and her death. She hadn’t been able to discuss a lot of those things before, because nobody in her life was making space for her to talk about her death. Instead, they’d say, “Oh, don’t worry. You’re going to get better.” I came back from that trip thinking I wanted to be a therapist who worked with people who were dying.

I applied to schools to become a therapist, but in the meantime, my brother-in-law got very sick. So I packed up and spent two months in New York with him. That experience gave me a lot of clarity on all the things we could be doing better in the end-of-life processes. It was so isolating and I couldn’t understand why. Everybody dies — so why does it feel so lonely? After that, I did a death doula program in Los Angeles, called Sacred Crossings, and then I founded my company, Going With Grace.

On leaving her law career (and a steady paycheck):
It wasn’t a hard decision to leave my job as an attorney. The challenging part had more to do with identity and what achievement means. I was born in Ghana, and we’re all raised to be doctors and lawyers and engineers. So I was going against societal expectation and parental expectation. It was also tough to be broke for a long time. My student loans were in forbearance. I spent a lot of nights lying on my mom’s couch wondering how I was going to make things work. If my friends were going out, they’d have to pay for me or else I couldn’t join them. To support myself while I was starting my business, I worked part-time jobs at a hospice and a funeral home.

Eventually, I started hosting small workshops about end-of-life planning. I charged $44 dollars for people to come together and learn how to fill out the necessary documents. Now I have my own doula training programs. I have about 100 students at the moment, all online.

On charging for her services:
I have to navigate the financial conversations with a lot of directness. Part of the challenge is that our society doesn’t see the financial value of having somebody be kind and supportive. Being able to hold so much compassionate space when somebody’s dying — that is a skill. It needs to be compensated highly.

On living with grief:
I’m constantly grieving with and for my clients and their family members, all the time. There’s no fixing it. I have to be present with my feelings and let them wash over me, in whatever expression they take. If I try to shut off that part of myself, it becomes much harder to function in everyday life. Grief doesn’t always look like crying. Sometimes it looks like anger, promiscuity, or eating everything under the sun. Like all things, it’s temporary.

On how COVID has changed her work:
We have to rely much more heavily on technology and remote communication. There’s also a lot more interest in the death doula training program. Death is on a lot of people’s minds, and I’ve seen a lot more people starting to do their end-of-life planning — mostly healthy people in their 40s with young kids. A lot of people have seen younger people die suddenly, and it’s changed their perspective.

On her own end-of-life plan:
I would love to be outside or by windows. I want to watch the sunset for the last time, and I want to have the people I love around, quietly talking, so that I know they’ve got each other after I leave. I want to have a soft blanket and a pair of socks because I hate it when my feet are cold. I want to smell nag champa incense and amber. And I want to hear the sound of running water, like a creek. I’d love to enjoy all those senses for the last time. And when I die, I want everybody to clap. Like, “Good job. You did it.”

I want my funeral to be outside, and I want all my jewelry to be laid out. As guests come in, they grab a piece and put it on. I want my body to be wrapped in an orange and pink raw silk shroud. They’ll play Stevie Wonder — “I’ll be loving you always” — and everyone will eat a lot of food and drink whiskey and mezcal and red wine. There will be colorful Gerber daisies everywhere, and they’ll take me away as the sun goes down. And when they put my body in the car, the bass will drop on the music, and there will be pyrotechnics of some sort. I hope my guests have a grand old time and dance and cry and hug each other. And then I want them to leave wearing my jewelry.

Complete Article HERE!

In the midst of deep grief, a scholar writes how Hindu rituals taught her to let go

Hindu cremation being performed on the banks of the River Ganges in Varanasi, India.

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Cultures have built elaborate rituals to help humans process the grief of losing someone.

Rituals can hold the core beliefs of a culture and provide a sense of control in an otherwise helpless situation. I came to understand this when I lost my mother last year and participated in the primary Hindu rituals of death and grief.

The cultural practices and experiences helped me find meaning in my loss.

Body and soul

Many Eastern religions do not bury their dead; instead, they cremate them. Most Hindus consider this to be the final sacrifice of a person.

The Sanskrit word for death, “dehanta,” means “the end of body” but not the end of life. One of the central tenets of Hindu philosophy is the distinction between a body and a soul. Hindus believe that the body is a temporary vessel for an immortal soul in the mortal realm. When we die, our physical body perishes but our soul lives on.

The soul continues its journey of birth, death and rebirth, in perpetuity until a final liberation. This is at the heart of the philosophy of detachment and learning to let go of desires.

Scholars of Indian philosophy have argued about the importance of cultivating detachment in the Hindu way of life. An ultimate test of detachment is the acceptance of death.

Hindus believe that the soul of the deceased stays attached to its body even after its demise, and by cremating the body, it can be set free. As a final act, a close family member forcefully strikes the burning corpse’s skull with a stick as if to crack it open and release the soul.

To fully liberate the soul of its mortal attachments, the ashes and remaining bone fragments of the deceased are then dispersed in a river or ocean, usually at a historically holy place, like the banks of the River Ganges.

Knowledge within rituals

Someone from a different tradition might wonder why a ritual should ask mourners to destroy the body of their loved ones and dispose of their remains when one should be caring for all that remains of the dead?

As shocking as it was, it forced me to understand that the burning corpse is only a body, not my mother, and I have no connection left to the body. My Ph.D. studies in cognitive sciences, a field that seeks to understand how our behavior and thinking are influenced by interactions between brain, body, environment and culture, made me look beyond the rituals. It made me understand their deeper relevance and question my experiences.

Rituals can help us understand concepts that are otherwise elusive to grasp. For example, scholar Nicole Boivin describes the importance of physical doorways in rituals of social transformation, like marriage, in some cultures. The experience of moving through doorways evokes transition and creates an understanding of change.

Through the rituals, ideas that were abstract until then, such as detachment, became accessible to me.

The concept of detachment to the physical body is embodied in the Hindu death rituals. Cremation creates an experience that represents the end of the deceased’s physical body. Further, immersing ashes in a river symbolizes the final detachment with the physical body as flowing water takes the remains away from the mortal world.

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be incredibly painful, and it also confronts one with the specter of mortality. The ritual of liberating the soul of the dead from its attachments is also a reminder to those left behind to let go of the attachment to the dead.

For it is the living who must learn to let go of the attachment to the dead, not the long-gone soul. Cultural rituals can widen one’s views when it is difficult to see past the grief.

Standing at a place where millions before me had come and gone, where my ancestors performed their rites, I let go of my mother’s final remains in the holy waters of the river Ganges.

Watching them float away with the waves of the ancient river helped me recognize that this was not the end but a small fragment in the bigger circle of life.

As the Hindu text, the “Bhagavad Gita” – The Song of God – says of the soul,

It is not born, it does not die;
Having been, it will never not be.
Unborn, eternal, constant and primordial;>It is not killed, when the body is killed.

Complete Article HERE!

How ‘I Am Dead’ Uses Death to Illuminate Life

Developer Ricky Haggett and designer Richard Hogg talk about how the puzzle adventure game is “not spooky or sinister,” but is instead a story about people and relationships.

by Trilby Beresford

Welcome to October, a time that, depending on which social circles you frequent, may be dominated by conversations about the next-gen Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 consoles set to release in just a few weeks; and their respective launch titles.

While for many players this month may also contain video games that indulge in creepy vibes or costumed assailants (Resident Evil, anyone?), this week’s column features an interview with two of the creatives behind Annapurna Interactive’s puzzle adventure I Am Dead, a game that one might assume involves terror and tragedy, but actually, that couldn’t be further from reality.

Hollow Ponds developer Ricky Haggett and designer Richard Hogg, both who are U.K.-based, describe the truth and meaning behind their latest offering, which just dropped on consoles.

I Am Dead is a Colorful Game About Living

As the title suggests, I Am Dead does involve a dead person, but it’s not explicitly about death or dying. As developer Ricky Haggett recalls on the phone with The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s not really a spooky or sinister game. It really is a game about people’s lives.”

Artist and designer Richard Hogg chimes in with the irony that the game, which features bright colors and an inviting sense of warmth, is releasing in October, the month of Halloween. “It suddenly occurred to me, wow, we’re launching a game called I Am Dead, about ghosts, kind of during Halloween season, and that’s so duplicitous because our game isn’t at all scary,” he says.

The story of the puzzle adventure game follows a deceased museum curator named Morris who sets about to explore the afterlife, a world filled with learning and discovery. The idea came to the developers years ago when they were working on another, entirely different game, where the central idea was “somebody dead in a grave — somebody from like the Bronze age, who was thousands of years old, with all of their tools, clothing and equipment that they would have had with them,” explains Haggett. “Occasionally people turn up in a bog or in the ice where it’s like, oh this person is this many years old and we can learn about their lives from these objects that they had with them.” He goes on to say, “We never ended up making that game, [but] then when we came to make I Am Dead, the first thing that we had was the idea of this mechanic.”

“I remember being really into the idea of it being a game about a dead person, but not about them dying — one benchmark idea was that you wouldn’t know how they died,” says Hogg, “instead the game is about how they lived.” He adds that death is a common theme of video games, but the stories are often about that moment when someone dies and how it happened. “We liked the idea of using death as a way of illuminating life.”

I Am Dead is set in present day in a location similar to the seaside town of Hastings, where Hogg resides. “It’s full of anecdotes and mini-stories about people’s lives and people’s relationships with each other that I think work a lot better [than the game that was set in the Bronze Age] because they’re things we can understand and that we can relate to.”

Morris is loosely based on Haggett’s geography teacher from back at school, a man who used to walk with his fingers tucked into the waistband of his trousers. “He was quite an elderly, fairly eccentric guy,” Haggett recalls. “He’s the sort of person that you see, if you go to the supermarket in the U.K. quite early in the morning,” adds Hogg. “The only people who do their shopping early in the morning are maybe people who’ve retired. Sort of non-descript, middle class guy in his 60s, probably quite cheerful, probably quite a fun granddad, quite an interesting guy, but at the same time doesn’t choose his own clothes, his wife chooses his clothes for him.”

While developing I Am Dead, Haggett and Hogg drew upon their shared enthusiasm for the literary works of Patrick O’Brian, scribe of the Master and Commander books about historical naval warfare. “They’re the sort of books that someone like Morris would read,” says Hogg. And then there’s libraries and museums, which Hogg and Haggett frequently meet at. “This game is kind of like a love letter to small, provincial British museums that we’re massive fans of,” Hogg concludes.

I Am Dead is currently available on Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Complete Article HERE!

Indigenous death doula mentorship program aims to teach youth to help others through grief

‘I just want to be able to support my family and my community [when] people die’

Kayleigh Lagimodiere and her mother Dana Connolly. Lagimodiere is one of 12 Indigenous youth who have been accepted into the Indigenous death doula mentorship program.

By Lenard Monkman

A new death doula mentorship program is being offered to Indigenous youth to equip them with skills to help others deal with grief and loss in their communities.

“It’s important for me to learn about this work because prior to colonization, I think we shared a different relationship with death. One that wasn’t so scary and fear-driven,” said Kayleigh Lagimodiere.

Lagimodiere, who is Cree, is 17 and one of 12 young people chosen to take part in the Indigenous Death Doula Program being offered by Blackbird Medicines in partnership with Canadian Roots Exchange.

A death doula is someone who supports people who are experiencing grief and or going through the process of death.

In January, Lagimodiere’s aunt Tracey Stevenson died and she got some experience doing death doula work.

“An elder from Swan Lake [First Nation] came and taught me how to prepare the body,” said Lagimodiere.

“That was like the first time that I had actually seen a dead body. Prior to that, at funerals, I wouldn’t go up.”

Lagimodiere said there have been a few recent losses in the family and they were having a hard time navigating through the grief.

“I just want to be able to support my family and my community [when] people die,” said Lagimodiere.

“I want to be able to help restore our practices that were there and to help people.”

The experience inspired her to apply for the Indigenous Death Doula Program, which was accepting applications from youth aged 12-29.

Lagimodiere said there were a number of different interest options that were available to applicants. She chose palliative care, harm reduction, cultural death practices, legacy planning and culturally grounded death and dying resources.

Indigenous grief

The program was started by Blackbird Medicines and its Indigenous death doula collective, which includes Connor Sarazin, Tasheena Sarazin, Colleen Cardinal and Elaine Kicknosway.

Founder Chrystal Toop, Omàmiwininì (Algonquin) from Pikwakanagan First Nation, started doing death doula work in 2018.

Chrystal Toop is the founder of Blackbird Medicines. The organization is offering an online death doula mentorship program for Indigenous youth ages 12-29.

“I come from the background of a full spectrum or a life spectrum doula worker,” said Toop.

“So I started out working with babies, pregnancy, things like that. But there’s just a huge demand on the other end, on that death spectrum.”

According to the website, Blackbird Medicines offer a range of services including virtual consultations, slideshows and videos for funerals, virtual funerals and aftercare to support people who have lost loved ones.

“For a lot of us, we came to this work because we were doing social services, front line work,” said Toop.

“Some of us have stories around missing and murdered men, women, girls, two spirit. And we have these personal experiences, so we recognize that Indigenous death doula work includes harm reduction from death.”

For the doula program, they are hoping to get more young people involved.

“The program itself is a gentle introduction to people, to support them,” said Toop.

It features two individual one on one sessions, as well as two group sessions with the whole collective, all of which will be done online.

Kicknosway said doing death doula work comes naturally to her. She has helped friends and family who have lost loved ones to cancer, but has also helped families go through things like suicide or other tragedies.

“What does Indigenous grief look like?” said Kicknosway.

“We need to make it a natural place to talk safely and to have spaces for this work.”

Complete Article HERE!

Couples Care for Stillborn Babies for Weeks While Grieving, & We Need to Be OK With That

By Sabrina Rojas Weiss

When Chrissy Teigen lost her baby Jack last week, some disapproved of the fact that both she and her mother shared images of themselves holding him. Those people may be surprised to learn that some parents go even further when grieving a stillborn baby, choosing to visit and hold them for days or weeks. As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, we want to help spread the word that this is one of many ways to grieve and memorialize a miscarriage or stillborn child.

“She was a fully grown baby and I kept thinking that she would wake up at any minute,” British mother Jess Mayall told the Sun of her stillborn daughter Ava. Her hospital in the U.K. allowed her to keep Ava in a refrigerated device call a CuddleCot for two weeks. That meant that she and her partner could hold her, take pictures with her, and even take her on walks in a stroller to say goodbye.

“The hospice was a life saver for us,” Mayall said. “The support they offered us really changed our experience and we are so glad that we were able to make two weeks’ worth of memories with her before laying her to rest.”

This is a practice some hospitals and pregnancy-loss organizations have recommended for bereaved parents, even sometimes suggesting they bring the baby home for a short time. While in the U.K., most hospitals have CuddleCots, there are parents and others hoping to bring more of them to the U.S., where often parents don’t even get to see or hold their infants after losing them.

The prospect of holding and caring for a deceased infant is not for everyone, though. We hope to help normalize many ways to cope with this tragedy. Here are some other ways to grieve and memorialize pregnancy and infant loss:

Seek the help of a doula. BirthWaves.org has doulas in five states who provide free help for parents during delivery of a stillborn child as well as with all the difficult things that come after they return home, from lactation support to funeral arrangement.

Hire a photographer who is comfortable with bereavement photos, or take pictures yourself.

Frame an ultrasound picture or create art with their footprint.

Buy a customized Molly Bear that is the weight of your baby.

Fill out a special memorial baby book.

Create a customized book for you and your other children to read together.

Make a memory box.

Reach out to a local or online support group.

Share your feelings with friends and family. No one needs to go through this alone. You may also be surprised to learn that someone close to you suffered from miscarriage or stillbirth without telling anyone until you did.

Read about other beautiful ideas from Still Standing magazine.

Complete Article HERE!

Dramas discuss what makes a good death in the age of Covid

By Alex Spencer

The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of us to come face to face with death in ways that we never imagined. Whether we’ve experienced personal losses, attended virtual funerals, or watched death tolls creeping up on the news, we are all confronting the pain of illness, death and grief and we’re having different kinds of conversation than we did before.

Researchers from the A Good Death? project at Cambridge University’s English faculty have teamed up with Menagerie Theatre Company to create three original audio plays, released online for free today (Wednesday) to help us to think and talk about this new reality. Written and recorded during lockdown by Menagerie actors, Seven Arguments with Grief, End of Life Care – A Ghost Story and A Look, A Wave are short 15-minute plays that provide glimpses into the thoughts and feelings of a bereaved mother and a hospital doctor, and reflect on the final farewell of the deathbed goodbye.

Written by Patrick Morris, co-artistic director of Menagerie, and inspired by the research of Dr Laura Davies into the history of writing about death, these plays don’t try to provide answers about how to handle what we’re all experiencing, in different ways, right now. What they do is capture personal stories and aim to be authentic to how hard life, death and loss can be.

Laura told the Cambridge Independent: “We have been running them since 2018 to improve conversations about death and dying using literature and the arts that means we run public events such as workshops for bereavement counsellors, people who work in palliative care, hospice workers and we use literature, museum objects and artworks to help people talk about death and dying.

“During the pandemic we built on an existing connection with Menagerie Theatre at the Cambridge Junction to think about how we could make some audio drama that people could listen to at home or on headphones that hopes, in a non-direct way, to help people to think about death and dying in a different way to the headlines of the death toll creeping up.

“We wanted people to think about what they believe and how they are feeling and what their experiences are. Right now we are all being forced to confront a reality that is universal but in a new way. Our ancestors would have been closer to death with it being more common for people to die in the home – child mortality rates were higher and plague and disease that couldn’t be controlled were more usual. We have been protected in the west from that sense that things are beyond our control and that we are quite vulnerable as human beings. You can’t avoid death and dying at the moment and many people are reporting feeling anxious about it, but of course you can’t hide.

“It’s important there’s a way to think about these ideas and listen to a story that can prompt reflections without increasing fear and anxiety. The work of literature and drama is to stimulate emotions,but with a bit of distance because you know it isn’t real. Our message is that death is part of life and that the way in which individuals experience life, death and loss is complicated and unique, andthat there is not a right or wrong way to grieve or a right or wrong way to live your own life knowing it will end.

“The more you talk about it doesn’t make it more likely to happen, but it can enhance the way you live.

“Even if there are elements of death and dying we can’t control, such as where and when and how we might die, it helps to have shared your wishes with your family and to have thought about what you might wish your legacy to be. They can help you to come to terms with it.”

A Good Death? includes workshops designed for practitioners, such as bereavement counsellors and hospice workers, along with public events, creative collaborations and online resources. The project also uses literature and the arts to open up new conversations about death, dying and bereavement.

Laura added: “One of the things emerging in terms of cultural impact is the experience of complicated grief that comes from a traumatic death. Early research points to the fact we are looking at long-term consequences for people’s mental health because they may have experienced not being able to be with a loved one at the end, or only being able to attend a funeral by Zoom. And missing out on those kinds of rituals makes it harder for people to grieve. Psychologists are looking at this cohort of bereaved people and the impact it will have on them.”

Menagerie is a new writing theatre company, resident at Cambridge Junction. It aims to develop and produce new plays which engage powerfully, imaginatively and critically with the contemporary world. Its co-artistic director Patrick explained: “There are so many books about the grieving process as if it’s some kind of logical process rather than something that’s actually faltering, that stalls, that destroys some people, but makes other people. I wanted to create a space for the real difficulties of grief.”

On the value of this collaboration, Laura added: “Working with Menagerie has given me a new perspective on my research into 18th century literature. These plays turn abstract and complex ideas into personal stories, showing new angles that I’ve not noticed before. And they capture brilliantly both how similar our struggles today are to those of the past, and how every person’s response to death or loss is unique.”

The plays can be listened to on the A Good Death? project website, good-death.english.cam.ac.uk/collab , where you can also watch interviews with the researchers, writer and actors.

Complete Article HERE!

The big difference between palliative care and hospice care

By Gareth Mahon

The difference between palliative care and hospice care

Hospice care, on the other hand, is more specific; it is a synonym for end-of-life care. In order to receive hospice care, you’ll have to stop curative treatments.

Unlike palliative care, hospice care is short term; it begins only after a medical assessment indicates you have six months or fewer left to live. Palliative care, however, can and should begin at any stage of a life-limiting illness.

How to create an end of life care plan

If you are receiving palliative care for a terminal illness, then it’s important to create an end of life care plan that describes the kind of care you want. To create your plan, consider these questions:

  • Where do you want to be for this stage of life? You can receive palliative care at home, in hospital, in a hospice, or in an aged care facility. The best location for you will depend on your needs, what type of care you want, what equipment and support is needed, and your goals.
  • Who do you want to provide care? Do you want your GP to provide most of your care? Do you have specialist health professionals such as an oncologist or physiotherapist? Do you want to receive care from a palliative care team that includes a social worker, a psychologist, or other specialists?
  • Who do you want to make decisions if you’re not able to? You can designate a loved one to make decisions about your care on your behalf if that becomes necessary.

Benefits of palliative care

Palliative care can significantly improve your quality of life. Even if you’re receiving it as part of end-of-life care, palliative care helps you focus on the life you’re experiencing now. The goal of palliative care is to make your life now as full and comfortable as possible.

One of the key goals of palliative care is to reduce the physical symptoms of your disease. This treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms such as pain, nausea and fatigue. Reducing your symptoms can reduce the suffering caused by disease, making you more comfortable and enabling you to enjoy activities and time with your loved ones.

Palliative care also provides spiritual and social support. This could mean providing you with counseling and care from a clergy member of your religion. It could also mean grief counseling and therapy for your and your loved ones, or care from a social worker who provides you with resources and counseling. In addition to religious support, you can receive care such as narrative therapy, counseling and education.

Finally, palliative care offers holistic support for your family and loved ones. It includes both physical and psychological support. Care for your family could include grief counseling and connection with community resources.

How do I get palliative care?

You qualify for palliative care if you have a serious, incurable illness. It does not have to be a life-threatening illness, but it does have to be an illness that significantly limits your quality of life for you to be eligible for palliative care.

To receive care, you simply need a referral from a healthcare provider. Usually this is your GP, but it can be a specialist for your illness or any healthcare professional who knows about your condition and can recommend care. If you think you may be eligible, you can ask your doctor to refer you.

Most palliative care is covered by Medicare at no cost to you. However, you might have to pay fees for some services. If you choose to receive care at home, then you might need to pay for specialized equipment or nursing staff. Some complementary palliative treatments or therapies may only be available by paying for them privately. If you choose to go to a private hospital or to use a respite service, these may also come with associated fees.

Complete Article HERE!