Posts Tagged ‘advance care planning’

Last Thursday, October 13th, was International Hospice Palliative Care day. And in Canada, this is national Hospice Palliative Care month. Each week, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association is reminding us of the importance of talking about death and dying, advance care directives, and the need for access to hospice palliative care.

Last Friday, I gave a keynote address to the Bereavement Ontario Network at Geneva Park near Orillia. It was wonderful to have the change to talk about the history of death and dying and current and future trends in death, dying, and bereavement. (In case you were wondering where I had disappeared to, I was madly writing my talk right up until the deadline!)

Before I head off to my hospice shift today, I wanted to share this article, written by an Irish woman, about she and her family’s failure to talk to their mother about her impending death. It’s a great reminder to all of us to talk about what we and the people we love want at the end of our lives (and about the fact that death can happen at any time, not just many many years from now when we are very old!)

‘I regret not talking to my mother about her death, don’t do the same thing’

Talk to the people you love – your children, your parents, your siblings, your friends. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

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Though it must seem as though I’ve disappeared into the stratosphere over the past month, I have been following the ongoing debates and discussions about end of life care and assisted suicide that have been swirling around. I wanted to alert people to two programs on CBC Radio’s amazing current affairs show, The Current –

The first was on November 17th and included a wonderful interview with Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. I think this book is must reading for all of us involved in hospice and end of life care. He writes beautifully and accessibly and the book is filled with poignant examples of what happens when we don’t talk about death and dying.

In the second portion of the program, two leading palliative physicians, a leader in long-term care, and a lawyer discuss the sorry state of end of life discussions among families and physicians.


Not sure if that link will work or not, but if it doesn’t, just go to The Current’s site and look for November 17th.

There will be a follow-up show tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. featuring more discussion and letters from listeners. I’ll be sure the listen to that one! All shows are archived, and the Current is played again at 8 p.m. if  you miss it.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about advanced care planning as I’ve been working on the final edits of my book. In the process of writing the book, I finally updated my will and my advanced care plans (and powers of attorney). If you  haven’t got up to date documents, start today! You can get forms for end of life wishes on the internet. Fill them out, and share them with your family!

None of us wants to put our children or friends or partner in the position where they have to decide what sort of treatment and care we should receive, when they don’t have the benefit of knowing what we do and don’t want. Start the conversation now!

More to come soon….

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