Caring at end of life is an innovative research project that has a real interest in people who are supporting loved ones who have come home to die. We are interested in what you have to say as a friend, family member, neighbour, work mate, service provider and community member of a dying loved one.
Holy cow! I missed the last couple of hump days. That’s not good!
I’m honored to share with you a remarkable new review of my book by an equally remarkable man, Mitch Carmody, CGSP. He is the author of Letters to My Son, turning loss to legacy.
The Amateur’s Guide to Death and Dying: Enhancing the End of Life
By Richard Wagner, Ph.D., ACS
I found Dr. Wagner’s book to be an incredible expose’ on the processes and mythologies of death and dying in a modern world. It was wonderful, refreshing, educational and enlightening, as well as entertaining.
The colorful cast of round table characters that he created from a compilation of real life people is quite remarkable; by the end of the book I had my favorite personas that I could not wait to hear from. The book engages you right from the get go and maintains that momentum throughout its pages. It made me laugh, it made me cry; it validated and put into simple words so may ideologies that I subscribe to in processes grief and facing one owns mortality.
This book is perfect for those individuals that may not like to attend or who are unable to attend a support group. For people faced with their own impeding death, this book is a brilliant concept. It allows for group interaction without actually being present.
This book is not only great for the dying and terminally ill but for caregiver, family and clergy who serve their needs. I highly endorse it and would recommend it to anyone seeking theological enlightenment. We are all amateurs when it comes to death and dying, for ourselves or those whom we love. Reading this book gives one encouragement to step outside the box of accepted social mores about death and dying and I believe can truly enhance the end of life for those faced with their own death. A great read for anyone; not one of us will escape from the eventual reality of our own death or those whom we love. This book can prepare us.
“In the end, the marginal status our culture assigns to the end of life, with all its fear, anxiety, isolation and anger is inevitably what each of us will inherit in our dying days if we don’t help change this unfortunate paradigm.”
For many healing and helping professionals, death is the enemy. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise really. Everything in our training, as well as everything in our culture, underscores that mindset. But this principle can actually be counterproductive more often than we realize. I am of the mind that if we encounter our mortality in an upfront way, we will be able to demonstrate genuine compassion to our patients and clients as they face theirs.
Here are some things we might want to consider if encountering mortality is our goal:
- Death isn’t only a universal biological fact of life, it’s also a necessary part of being human. Everything that we value about life and living — its novelties, challenges, opportunities for development — would be impossible without death as the defining boundary of our lives.
- While it may be easier to accept death in the abstract, it’s often more difficult to accept the specifics of our own death. Why must I die like this, with this disfigurement, this pain? Why must I die so young? Why must I die before completing my life’s work or before providing adequately for the ones I love?
- Living a good death begins the moment we accept our mortality as part of who we are. We’ve had to integrate other aspects of ourselves into our daily lives – our gender, racial background, and cultural heritage, to name a few. Why not our mortality? Putting death in its proper perspective will help us appreciate life in a new way. Facing our mortality allows us to achieve a greater sense of balance and purpose in our life as well.
- Dying can be a time of extraordinary alertness, concentration, and emotional intensity. It’s possible to use the natural intensity and emotion of this final season of life to make it the culminating stage of our personal growth. Imagine if we could help our sick, elder, and dying clients and patients tap into this intensity. Imagine if we had this kind of confidence about our own mortality.
We healing and helping professionals can actually help pioneer new standards of a good death that our patients and clients can emulate. We are in a unique position to help the rest of society desensitize death and dying. And most importantly, we would be able to support our patients and clients, as well as those they love, as they prepare for death. We could even join them as they begin their anticipatory grieving process.
If we face our mortality head-on we will understand how difficult it is for our sick, elder, and dying patients and clients. We will be more sensitive to their striving to regain lost dignity by actively involving themselves in the practical preparations for their own death. If we can project ourselves to the end of our lives we will better understand our patients and clients as they try to negotiate pain management, choose the appropriate care for the final stages of their dying, put their affairs in order, prepare rituals of transition, as well as learn how to say goodbye and impart blessings.
Facing our mortality may even allow us to help our patients and clients learn to heed the promptings of their mind and body, allowing you to move from a struggle against dying to one of acceptance and acquiescence.
In the end, the marginal status our culture assigns to the end of life, with all its fear, anxiety, isolation and anger is inevitably what each of us will inherit in our dying days if we don’t help change this unfortunate paradigm.
Peyrus – chapelle St Pierre cemetery (France)
By Nick Triggle
There is a shortage of specialist end-of-life care in England, causing unnecessary suffering, experts say.
But a report – produced by end-of-life doctors and nurses – said many were going without the help they needed.
As well as being an inefficient use of NHS money, this could be causing greater distress at death, they said.
Specialist end-of-life care requires teams of professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and pharmacists to work together to help manage pain and disability in the final year of life and ensure patients are treated with dignity and compassion.
As well as helping to achieve as comfortable a death as possible, the support can also reduce costs to the NHS by keeping people out of hospital, said the report, produced by a host of specialist bodies including the Association of Palliative Medicine and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Not everyone who dies needs such help as some deaths are sudden or unexpected.
Continue reading the main story
Palliative care has the ability to save the NHS money and improve the care of patients”
Dr David Brooks
Association of Palliative Medicine
But the ageing population means there is a growing number of people with complex, long-term problems that need carefully managing at the end of life.
The report said it was estimated that between 160,000 to 170,000 people a year were currently receiving specialist end-of-life care.
The groups said this was a “significant” shortfall on the numbers who needed help. It said more than 350,000 people required some form of end-of-life care, the majority of whom would benefit from specialist care.
Dr David Brooks, vice-president of the Association of Palliative Medicine, said: “There is a shortfall in services that needs to be addressed. Palliative care has the ability to save the NHS money and improve the care of patients.”
It comes after there has been mounting concern about one part of end-of-life care, the Liverpool Care Pathway.
At the end of last year there were suggestions the regime, which allows doctors to withdraw treatment in the last days of life, was being misused in places.
Relatives of dying patients had complained that their loved ones had been put on the pathway without consent.
Professionals working in the field had agreed to launch a review into how the system was working, but that was then put on hold when ministers said it should be done independently.
That review has yet to start, although the government is expected to announce details of it in the coming weeks.
Dr Brooks said the profession was keen to find out what had gone wrong, but he said the controversy and wait for the review had created a “bit of paralysis”.
“It is important we get this right and tackle what was happening, but there is a little frustration it is taking some time.”
Complete Article HERE!