September …..

Illustration by Joanne Thomson

September…

The end of summer, the beginning of a new year (school), and for some… a time when the time felt like it stopped and life changed. My heart and prayers go out to the many people affected by the wild fires, the floods and the other disasters and dangers. As I sit in my beautiful garden, it is difficult to begin to comprehend the devastation, losses, upheaval, transitions, changes, hassles and far reaching consequences. My initial thoughts went to the practical things like shelter and food. Then, after talking with people who were affected, I woke to the practical realities for people who organize and teach in health care worker and nursing programs, the associated practicums and the many students affected. I thought of this image from the PSW text, that shows the practice of providing casseroles for people when they are grieving. I send my thoughts and hopes, and wish I was able to bring a nice warm casserole or a beautiful fresh salad to provide support!Full Post:   Read More

Medical Assistance in Dying – One Year Later

In the year since Bill C-14 passed, legalizing Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), over 1300 Canadians have exercised their right to die[1] [2]. Depending on your feelings about this topic, this may feel like a large or small number. It terms of total deaths, MAiD accounts for approximately 0.6% of the total number of deaths in Canada.

Country

Percentage of total deaths

Netherlands (2015)3

3.75%

Belgium (2015)[3]

1.83%

Canada (2016-2017)

0.6%

Oregon (2016) [4]

0.37%

Compelling accounts of people who have requested and received MAiD are freely available online, and in the popular media for people wishing to learn what the process is like, and how family might be affected by the dying person’s decision to end their life. Two examples of such stories are:Full Post:   Read More

5 Key “Do Not Miss” Concepts from the HPCO, SLPNA and CLPNA Conferences

  • Find meaning when caring for the dying – David Irvine, author of “Caring is Everything, spoke about providing care and supporting his brother Hal, a beloved family physician, from diagnosis through to death. His book contains exquisite reflections, compassionate tributes, and insightful learning about the importance of finding meaning while providing care.
    David has spent much of his career in coaching corporate leaders. We are fortunate that his focus is shifting, and he is now looking at the needs of people in the health care field, and how we might be reminded and supported to provide better care while also addressing our own needs.
  • Rekindling your sparkPatricia Katz spoke about Mid-Life Malaise. She identified the challenge that many of us feel at times, when all may be well, but we are just not “feeling it.” Patricia reminded us through the activities and presentation, that it is possible create a spark that fans your fires. She divided us into pairs and, using a creative interview process, helped us explore our past and the present. Second, using guided imagery, Patricia helped us look to the future to identify what we might do to rekindle the spark in our own lives. In all, each of us was able to find a spark and learned how to dig for that spark when we needed it.
  • Importance of connections and hugs in a legacyElizabeth Dougherty shared her reflections, quotes, stories, and an expressive arts project that expands on her concept of the importance of connection, hugs and legacy. Using only a bed sheet, markers and scissors, she created a “hug” that the dying person and family can treasure. She reminded us that tools don’t have to be complicated, technical or expensive.  Interested in learning how to create a “hug” Check out this similar presentation on her website.
  • “MAiD – Is this a part of hospice palliative care?” Dr. Andrew Mai from Hospice Care Ottawa addressed this topic eloquently. He offered interesting points, shared a few difficult case studies, and then divided us into pairs to debate the reasons for and against providing MAiD within a hospice. There weren’t any easy answers. But maybe that wasn’t the point. It was affirming to experience a controversial and often discordant discussion within this group, without hostility or rancor appearing.
  • Supporting children whose loved one is dying – Megan Sloan and Katt Brooks, (Roger Neilson House, a hospice for kids in Ottawa), and I presented, “Games, Cookies and Creativity in Addressing the Need of Kids while Caring for Adults.”
    If you are one of the many people who feel less than comfortable in addressing the needs of children while caring for an adult, we created a short follow-up video that may help you with your discomfort. (In Life and Death Matters Facebook, this video was posted on April 23rd).
  • Full Post:   Read More

    What are your plans for Advance Care Planning/Healthcare Decisions Day?

    National Advance Care Planning Day/National Healthcare Decisions Day are on April 16

    We’re curious about what types of plans have been made for April 16th – National Advance Care Planning Day / National Healthcare Decisions Day. Leave us a comment to tell us what is (or isn’t) happening in your area.

    You’re not alone if plans have not yet been made. And it’s not too late to get involved. Anyone can participate in small and big ways – there’s something for everyone. You can begin by helping spread the word!

    Resources in Canada

    Resources in the United States

    In the US, there are resources available for National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16. In fact, this will be a week-long campaign, from April 16 to April 22, to help people understand the value of advance healthcare planning.Full Post:   Read More