At What Age is One Old Enough to Make Healthcare Decisions?

The article in the The Atlantic is what I came across both yesterday and today on LinkedIn. A 17-year-old girl is being forced to accept treatment that she does not want. Cassandra C. was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September 2014. The disease infiltrates essential components of the body’s immune system, specifically weakening the lymphatic tissue, which helps fight infection. Though fatal, patients often have a high survival rate with early treatment. Yet, Cassandra was adamantly against treatment from the beginning, according to the Hartford Courant. Her mother (Fortin) supported her decision….

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#Cancer, #EndOfLife, #Healthcare, #Treatment

Death Midwifery and Home Funerals: Death is too Medicalized

Death Midwifery and Home Funerals
By Cassandra Yonder
This piece is an excerpt from the upcoming book: Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life, written, compiled, and edited by Victoria Brewster, MSW and Julie Saeger Nierenberg, MA Ed with an anticipated release date of Spring 2015.

A social movement has arisen in response to the cultural alienation we feel from death and dying. As the sick and dying members of our families and communities are institutionalized, death itself is “medicalized,” and post-death care is undertaken by strangers outside our homes. Indeed, we have come to recognize ourselves as a death-denying society.

Just as the slow food movement brings communities back in touch with the production and distribution of their own food in a small, local, familiar market, and birth midwifery empowers women to reclaim the labour and delivery of their own babies, death midwifery reminds us how to be present for those who are at the end of life and how to care for our own dead.

One might even say that death midwifery is to palliative care as the slow food movement is to large-scale agriculture and as birth midwifery is to obstetrics….

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#Death, #Dying, #EndOfLife, #Midwifery, #SocialWork

Medically Assisted Suicide-Where do you stand on this topic?

I woke up this morning and as I do every morning and went on LinkedIn. One of the first posts I came across was by the Washington Post reporting on the death of Brittany Maynard.

Brittany was a 29-year-old woman recently married, planning a future with children, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer last January. At age 29, one typically has a lifetime in front of them. Imagine being ‘in her shoes.’ What would you do? What decisions and choices would you make? You are diagnosed as terminal with months to live and told the symptoms of the cancer will rob you of living a ‘normal’ life. You will develop horrible headaches, lose the ability to function ‘normally’, will need assistance to complete what are considered ADL’s and IADL’s. IADL’s- Instrumental Activities of Daily Living; cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, transportation, finances, medical appointments, medication management, communication and/or ADL’s- Activities of Daily Living; bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, ambulating (mobility)….

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#AssistedSuicide, #BrittanyMaynard, #EndOfLife, #Terminal

Assisted Dying as Controversial as Abortion?

Assisted Dying is a topic one sees all over social media, blog posts, and in the news; although other terms used are assisted suicide, euthanasia, dying with dignity, and dying in dignity.
In June, Quebec became the first province to pass legislation which will come into effect later this year.  Although the wording is “respecting end of life care,” it is a step in the right direction….

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#Abortion, #AssistedDying, #EndOfLife, #Legislation

End-of-Life Discussion Group for Professionals on LinkedIn

A colleague of mine is an author and has written a book regarding the process of her father’s death. She receives many requests and suggestions regarding the need for a professional ‘support’ group, or a place where dialogue can occur among professionals on the topic of death. This is why I have created the End-of-Life Discussion Group for Professionals. It is a group for professionals to share with one another on the topic of death, dying and end-of-life; whether from a personal perspective or professional one.

We can all learn from one another by sharing stories, articles, blog posts and research. But often what is missing is the ability to ‘vent’ the difficulties professionals face in their role working with individuals who are dying, diagnosed with chronic health conditions or a progressive health issue or illness….

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#EndOfLife, #LinkedIn, #SocialWork, #SupportGroup

Book Review and Interview: Julie Saeger Nierenberg and her self-published book: ‘Daddy, this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad’

I always marvel at the connections one can make thru social media. I have had the benefit of making many positive connections on LinkedIn and because of my involvement there, connected with Julie Nierenberg. We both have similar interests re: death, dying and end-of-life issues and we both write. While I have not written a book yet and my focus is blogging and articles, eventually a book may come. Julie has already taken that leap and on such a personal topic.

Within the first 2 pages my eyes were tearing up…Julie writes from the soul. It is obvious she had a close relationship with her father. I also have a close relationship with my father; perhaps that is why this book resonated with me. Julie writes to her father, describes their friendship/father-daughter relationship while at the same time she shares his diagnosis of cancer, and the 3-year process and journey with his deterioration in his health until his death….

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#Death, #Dying, #EndOfLife, #SocialWork

End-of-Life Care & Discussions

This is an article worth reading in The Windsor Star on End-of-Life Care. This area is only going to continue to grow as more and more enter the 65+demographic. What is holding health professionals and helping professionals back from bringing this issue to the forefront?…

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#Death, #Dying, #EndOfLife, #SocialWork

End-of-life Rules to be set out in New Quebec Law

In the province of Quebec in Canada, Véronique Hivon, the Quebec minister responsible for implementing a report on dying with dignity, said this past Tuesday she hopes to present legislation setting out the rules for medically assisted end-of-life procedures in the province before the…


Canadian Courts to Decide on End-of-Life Treatment

By Victoria Brewster, MSW – SJS Staff Writer in Canada
Since 2010 he has been in a vegetative state-kept alive by machines. The family immigrated from Iran in May of 2010 and five months later he underwent surgery for a benign brain tumor. Unfortunately, he developed an infection which…


Advice For Dealing With The Death of a Client or Patient

It is always hard as a professional to lose a client because of death. While death is a fact of life, part of the life cycle; remember that to be born, one must die, and it is never easy.
I work with seniors and older/adults and this is something that I face all the time as do many in the…