“What’s Healthcare Literacy?”

  Our Greatest Adversary Why are most of us surprised by advancing illness and our inevitable decline when we have years to prepare? Truth is, most of us are under the illusion that it’s too early, and perhaps too morbid, to talk about our closing chapters. I think what we’re up against – perhaps our greatest adversary, is a stubborn, … Read More

Wouldn’t You Rather Have a Say?

  WHEN IT COMES TO HOW WE DIE, there are only two ways to go, either fast or slow. Statistics have it that 85% of us will die slowly, and if we choose to, can have a say in how and where we die. To recognize and embrace this truth is straightforward. Wouldn’t you rather have a say? In last … Read More

Dad’s Final Wish: To Die at Home

  SIPPING A COLD GINGER ALE AT HOME IN HIS EASY CHAIR, dad was fond of saying, “I love this place… The only way I’m leaving here is in a box.” To his credit, this was his way of talking about end-of-life and letting us know what mattered to him. Not counting his calls to 911, each requiring a “fireman’s … Read More

“I’m Not Ready for Hospice… Am I?”

  IT’S OKAY IF YOU’RE NOT READY FOR HOSPICE. It’s also okay to learn about it. At its best, hospice is not a place, but a way of seeing and valuing life that supports and champions a self-directed end. The heart of hospice embodies compassion and acceptance. It’s designed to acknowledge and support all aspects of being human: our physical, … Read More

An Intermission…

  IT’S TIME FOR A SHORT BREAK TO CATCH OUR BREATH… Through the power of imagination, perhaps a ‘Field trip to Hawaii’ can happen in the comfort of your own easy chair. Aloha! This isn’t easy territory or subject matter. There’s some heavy lifting here, and if you’ve made it this far, I admire your fortitude and commend you for … Read More

Longevity and Quality of Life

  “We are the beneficiaries and victims of scientific success. Serious, chronic illness is an invention of the late 20th century, the fruit of our species’ intellectual prowess, the culmination of scientific progress.”                       – Dr. Ira Byock, The Best Care Possible Most everybody wants to live longer and better. Yet these twin desires naturally diverge at some point for each … Read More

It’s Time to Talk

“The last thing my mom would have wanted was to force me into such bewildering, painful uncertainty about her life and death… If only we had talked about it. And so, I never want to leave people I love with that uneasy and bewildered feeling about my own wishes. It’s time for us to talk.” -Ellen Goodman, The Conversation Project … Read More

Advanced Care in Real Time

“I realize how difficult it is to anticipate and prepare for all possible scenarios. I pledge to trust myself, my healthcare agent, and my doctors to confer and make joint decisions in “real time” that most faithfully represent my wishes.”         – From The Pledge All Advanced Care Planning (or the lack of it) eventually takes place … Read More

A Pivotal Moment

  There’s been an important development in planning for the end-of-life. In October 2021, three preeminent leaders in the Palliative Care field:  Sean Morrison, MD; Diane E. Meier, MD; and Robert M. Arnold, MD, boldly questioned the relevance of Advanced Care Planning (ACP) and the Advance Directive. In their opinion piece entitled, “What’s Wrong with Advance Care Planning?”, these doctors, whose medical … Read More

What’s Palliative Care?

  “The essential principle of Palliative Care is that each human life has value and meaning…We do our work by learning about the unique hopes and fears of the person in front of us… And then do all we can to be present, to listen, to provide support and to relieve suffering whenever possible.” – Dr. Diane Meier, Founder and … Read More