The Bible says "there is a time to be born and a time to die". This saying reminds everyone of our mortality and the debt. A discourse about dying and death in most human society including Nigeria is a taboo. Read the rest of this entry »
A story in a recent AARP magazine, “Against All Odds”, told of a woman who has survived longer than expected given her stage-4 cancer. However, the article was unfortunately typical in its use of military terms such as “battle”, “win”, and the overall message to “fight” cancer no matter what.
I’m always dismayed to see this. First, what pressure does this place on the person with terminal cancer who doesn’t want to “fight”? Are they weak for choosing not to, are they “giving up”? I see patients who are pressured “to do everything” even when seeking peace and comfort in their last weeks is the better choice for them. And, even worse, what does this type of thinking say to those who did “fight”, but lost? That they didn’t try or pray hard enough? That they’re losers? Patients and families can feel like failures when cancer doesn’t respond to treatment.
It’s interesting that we mostly use this language in regard to cancer. We don’t talk about “fighting” heart failure or dementia nor would we enlist “prayer warriors” to do so either. Perhaps it’s a legacy from the “War on Cancer”, which has had mixed success over the past 40 years.
So, the next time you find yourself reaching for military terms when discussing cancer, stop. Think about the implications on your audience. And maybe choose the kind of words you would for other serious illnesses instead.
Almost everyone would agree that there is stress and even trauma involved for parents when a child is diagnosed and lives with a life-limiting illness. Not everyone knows, however, that for some parents there are some positive outcomes and processes involved. What even fewer people realize is that when there are positive aspects, it does not take away the stress. Read the rest of this entry »
“Is social work a profession?” was the question boldly posed by Abraham Flexner, the American researcher and critic of professional education, to the attendees of the 1915 National Conference of Charities and Correction. His answer was no, social work is not a profession. Flexner observed that social work was too generalist and lacked a “high degree of specialized competency Read the rest of this entry »
Almost 20 years ago, a family member died in August. The funeral ritual was interrupted by thunder, lightening, and pouring rain. We thought of the storm as a declaration of arrival. Perhaps even a celebration. The next year there was a thunder storm on the same day. Family and friends phoned each other to comment on the coincidence and to reminisce. The next year it happened yet again. Read the rest of this entry »
We all have experience with patients and families where what we say, and how we say it, matters. As palliative care professionals, most of us are expert communicators. We know, for instance, that talking about DNAR (Do not attempt resuscitation) vs. DNR (Do not resuscitate) can result in two different conversations.
But are we careful enough about the words we use when we talk about palliative care? Read the rest of this entry »
At the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center, each child and family can pick and choose the colors they need or want to create the most beautiful painting possible of life and hope. This image was inspired by two simultaneous events: a letter received from one of our bereaved mothers, thanking us for the care we provided for her son, and a watercolor painting done by a young artist in our program, who was dying of a rare spinal cord tumor but who brought forth onto a canvas the image of a palette of colors as she depicted what palliative care had meant to her and her family during her journey. Read the rest of this entry »
In the mid-90s, I was experiencing more grief and loss than I could have ever imagined. It was the height of the AIDS epidemic in Canada, and many of my friends were dying. As a young straight woman with numerous gay male friends, I was impacted by HIV/AIDS more than most of the people around me. Read the rest of this entry »
Our study demonstrated that at least a sizeable minority of patients with curable cancers can still suffer as much as patients with advanced cancer who might be expected to die of their disease.
Having found significant unmet need among these cancer patients, the question remains what other patients have significant unmet needs that a palliative care clinic can help address?
Read the rest of this entry »
As of today (July 1, 2012), your JPM Social Media is a one year old!
To this date, we have a total of 173 posts written by about 38 inter-professional experts, 565 comments, a total of 1406 subscribers through and about 2200 hits per day! Yes, everyone, your JPM Social Media blog is definitely a very popular and high-traffic site. Read the rest of this entry »
You might be wondering what an announcement about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness is doing on a blog about palliative care. While many think of PTSD as a disorder experienced primarily by younger adults, it can be an issue in late life and palliative care as well. Read the rest of this entry »
This week we challenge those providers/those providers that you work alongside to consider how encouraging clients to complete Advance Directives would be different if you had this personal experience. Would you be more likely to discuss this option if you too experienced the emotions attached to thinking of your final days? Read the rest of this entry »
ACP wishes are dynamic and likely to change as people advance thru their life trajectory. Even if the wishes of the person is likely to change, the conversation is always helpful as early as it can be had as it gives time for people to marinate over their decisions and integrate the philosophical principles into their thinking framework. Read the rest of this entry »
You know what I know.
That look, from patients, that is.
You walk into the room, start to explain who you are, what you do.
“We’re part of the Palliative Care team…”
All at once you watch your patient’s eyes widen, Read the rest of this entry »
Watch and share this five minute video about the need for prophylactic end-of-life conversations. Laura Heldebrand, an ICU nurse tells her mother's story.
High Traffic Alert !
Your JPM blog is a high traffic site. We have 1406 subscribers. In August 2012, we had 140,372 hits (this number is excluding bots and spider traffic)!
Many thanks to you all for your love and support of your Journal of Palliative Medicine.
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