When the Body is Dying

When the Body Is Dying: Pain Meds, Fear, and Courage My guest author for this month is Barbara Karnes, RN.  Barbara is a hospice pioneer and an award-winning, end-of-life (EOL) Educator, Author, and Speaker. She has authored six booklets on the dying experience that many end-of-life care providers rely on. Barbara received a nursing degree […]

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How To Find A Good Hospice

Is it really that difficult to find a hospice? Yes, it can be. It can be an overwhelming search for the totally uninitiated. And let’s face it, we are all uninitiated until we get that sobering life-limiting diagnosis or actual terminal prognosis. Remember what it was like sorting through all of the options available for […]

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A Chaplain’s Motto: Do No Harm.

All nursing home medical charts begin with what is called the “face page.” I flip through the binder to a photo of my newly-admitted hospice patient. It could pass for a mug shot: the stoic-looking woman stares out beyond the page, her strong jaw set in subtle defiance. Thin, white strands of hair are pulled […]

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Death In A Nonprofit Hospice

I didn’t know much about hospice until my mother was close to death. My father honored a promise that he would never put her into a nursing home (although there are lovely ones to be had). And so she lived in their home until four weeks before she died. She experienced a good death: pain-free […]

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Work of a Death Doula

You might be wondering what a Death Doula is or does.  At first glance, the term might sound a bit macabre. Or perhaps you’ve heard the word doula used in relationship to the birthing process. The term “doula” was developed in the 1960s to describe someone who is employed to provide guidance and support to […]

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The Watershed Moment: Choosing to Embrace Hospice Care

What is a watershed moment? It is a turning point from which things will never be the same. A fork in the road. You might recall the precise twinkling in time that changed the direction of your life, path, or thinking – forever. For our purpose, that watershed moment occurs when a person chooses to […]

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Who Benefits from the Emerging Field of Palliative Medicine? Everyone, eventually.

The Latin root word for palliative is palliat, or “cloaked”, and palliation does in a sense cloak or mask a person’s pain. The five principles of Palliative Care are: Provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms. Integrate the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of patient care. Offer a support system to help patients live […]

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Creating a Hospice Mind Set: Beyond Morphine, Meds, and Views from Bed

What does a hospice experience look like? Obviously, it is as unique as the patient and the circumstances of a family and as variable as the physical plant to which it is delivered. It is more than pain relief, symptom management, and the comfort measures it is designed to provide. Although most families will say […]

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“Surviving Hospice: An Exposé”

My book, “Surviving Hospice: An Expose” chronicles the day-to-day operations of my former for-profit hospice company. It recounts a two-year period when the company was working with a NYC Private Equity Firm. The harmful consequences stemming from that sudden change in the company’s mission, financial goals, and priorities was detrimental to patients, their families, and […]

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