Wednesday - February 8, 2023
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Posts Tagged With ‘ Barbara Karnes ’

 
Medical Interventions on a Body That Can’t Be Fixed
February 7th, 2023

I received a letter from a woman whose father recently died. She explained all the surgeries, medical interventions, TPN, gastrostomy,  multiple catheters, medicines, and hospitalizations that she, her father and their family dealt with over an 18 month period.  She lamented that no one in the medical arena, except one woman who used to be a hospice nurse, talked with her or her family about her father dying. There were many different medical interventions offered. As horrific and overwhelmingly sad as this experience was for this family, I’m sorry to say it really is quite typical of our... Continue Reading

February 7th, 2023
Entering Into “Precious Time”
February 1st, 2023

Dr. Bob Lehmberg, husband of Jennifer O’Brien, author of The Hospice Doctor’s Widow, used the term “Precious Time” with his palliative care and hospice patients and families who were dealing with end of life situations. I LOVE that phrasing “Precious Time”.  What does it mean? Doctor Bob’s definition was “Precious Time is a type of time, a distinct period of life. Precious Time may indeed start upon the life-limiting diagnosis or it may start as death nears or becomes imminent. It is a gift to recognize that you have entered into Precious Time with a loved one.” In our medical... Continue Reading

February 1st, 2023
The True Value of End of Life Support
January 25th, 2023

There are just two ways to die: fast and gradual. Gradual death has a process to it. If it were happenstance and just happened, it would be a fast death. Gradual death occurs either because of old age or disease. With disease the process begins months before actual death and in old age the process takes years. Most people have never considered what has been written in the above paragraph. Yet everyone will be faced with the experience of death, whether it be that of someone they care about or their own. Throughout most of American society the idea of dying is held in the back recesses of the mind.... Continue Reading

January 25th, 2023
Hospice Services Pulled for Dementia Patient
January 18th, 2023

I got a letter about a hospice agency ending services for a woman whose only diagnosis was dementia . As sad as I am to hear those stories (and I get many) I am not surprised. These families have had the comprehensive services of hospice for months, even a year or so and then they are  withdrawn because the person is no longer eligible. These discharges are happening because dementia doesn’t play by the rules for end of life. It isn’t until eating becomes a problem that the dying process really begins.  Dementia seems to be in a category of its own. It doesn’t fit into Home Health services... Continue Reading

January 18th, 2023
Supporting Survivors of Suicide Loss
January 10th, 2023

Dear Barbara, A friend of mine had a child commit suicide.  Do you have reference material that I might use to help my friend? Part of normal grief is all the questions we will never have answers to, the whys and what if’s? With death by suicide those questions are ten fold. With a child’s death by suicide those questions are a so much more. Blame is a feeling and series of thoughts we also have surrounding a death by suicide. Blaming others, blaming the person that died, and blaming ourselves. “If we had done things differently this life would not have been taken” is paramount in our... Continue Reading

January 10th, 2023
Caring For an Elder Who Needs to Eat
December 27th, 2022

Dear Barbara, My father fell, was hospitalized and is now home. He just isn’t eating—popsicles but nothing else. The doctors have not offered any suggestions. What should I do? The elderly, after a fall or illness, often are not much interested in eating. If there are no other health issues, they gradually return to normal eating. In the meantime here are some ideas:  * 3 meals a day are too many and too much.  * Offer small, high protein snacks (custards, cheese and crackers, egg bites, ice cream, smoothies with protein and calories) four times a day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.  *... Continue Reading

December 27th, 2022
Holiday Celebrations and the Grief-Wound
December 20th, 2022

In our grief, holiday celebrations tend to reopen the grief-wound.  We tend to play the “elephant in the room” game at the mention of our missing loved one. “If we don’t talk about how sad we are feeling we won’t spoil the day for others” is a common belief we carry into gatherings.  The fallacy in this kind of thinking is that everyone is sad and missing this special person and they are all thinking the same about each other. SO bring those feelings out into the open and share them. At the beginning of the get together, allow yourself to say, “It just isn’t going to be the same... Continue Reading

December 20th, 2022
IF I WERE — a funeral home, a hospice worker, an attorney, a physician, a social worker, a nursing facility…
December 13th, 2022

IF I WERE ——a funeral home I would give end of life education materials to all who are making prearrangement funerals plans. It is an opportunity to provide education in an area that will be needed someday.  IF I WERE ——an attorney I would give my clients educational material on writing advance directives, so they can make informed choices. IF I WERE —— an employee of a doctor’s office I would have in the reception area end of life information handouts as reading materials. IF I WERE  —— a physician I would have end of life materials to give to my patients that were approaching... Continue Reading

December 13th, 2022
Do I Want FULL CODE or a NO CODE?
December 8th, 2022

When is the appropriate time to make the change from being “full code” to being “no code”? Full code means that when your heart stops, and you have died, medical professionals or paramedics will do everything medically possible to try and restart your heart. No code means that if your heart stops, medical professionals or paramedics will NOT try to restart your heart. They will let a person stay dead. They will not intervene and try to bring them back. This sounds very harsh so let’s explore this idea further. We are conditioned to think that a call to 911 can help us no matter what... Continue Reading

December 8th, 2022
The Reluctance to Attend Bereavement Support Groups
November 15th, 2022

We tend to be unprepared for dying and death and we are unprepared for grief. Most of us don’t understand mourning, its natural flow, all the feelings and emotions that grieving presents. We are numb, we are screaming inside, we are confused, we are lost, we are alone, isolated, angry, afraid—all a normal parts of grieving. The thing is, most of us don’t know that all of what I just mentioned is normal and natural. It is grief but in our pain we think there must be something wrong with us, we are the ones out of step, we are not normal. This is where bereavement support groups come in.... Continue Reading

November 15th, 2022