Category Archives: End-of-life issues

“Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care” – Kaiser Health Network

grief covid

Central Baptist Village in Norridge, Illinois, held a socially distanced ceremony for one of its beloved nurses who died of COVID-19. Assisted living centers and nursing homes around the country offer grief counseling and memorial services for staffers and residents lost to the coronavirus. (Dawn Mondschein)

by Judith Graham

“A tidal wave of grief and loss has rolled through long-term care facilities as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 91,000 residents and staffers — nearly 40% of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

“And it’s not over: Facilities are bracing for further shocks as coronavirus cases rise across the country.

“Workers are already emotionally drained and exhausted after staffing the front lines — and putting themselves at significant risk — since March, when the pandemic took hold. And residents are suffering deeply from losing people they once saw daily, the disruption of routines and being cut off from friends and family.

“In response, nursing homes and assisted living centers are holding memorials for people who’ve died, having chaplains and social workers help residents and staff, and bringing in hospice providers to offer grief counseling, among other strategies.”

Click here to continue reading this article in its entirety at Kaiser Health Network. 

“The myth of ‘no place like home’ when it comes to end of life” – Medical Press

dying at home“In a new study, MU researchers uncovered several themes that expose the challenges that are often not included in conversations about dying at home. – Credit: University of Missouri-Columbia”

by University of Missouri-Columbia

“She died at home, but it wasn’t the romantic scene found in movies, where the family held her hand and she simply closed her eyes. In reality, there was a night when she had diarrhea 12 times. In reality, every time she had to be moved she was in pain. This was how a caregiver described caring for her mother as she died at home to social scientists studying end-of-life decision-making.

“‘The realities of a home death experience present challenges for family members, especially those with limited resources and social support,’ Benson said. ‘It is important that people understand that home death does not automatically equate a good death.’

In recent decades, there has been a groundswell of social movements championing the ideal of dying at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, home deaths in the U.S. increased nearly 30 percent from 2000 to 2014, while deaths in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care communities dropped.”

Click here to read this article in full.


Are you a veteran? Are you eligible to be buried at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery?

FIGThe Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial. For more information visit our eligibility web page.

“And now, hospice!” – Time Goes By

time goes by

This site has been recommending this Website for a number of years.  The creator of the site has been contributing witty, brilliant, funny and candid writings about the subtitle: “What it’s really like to get old.”

What better to write about any topic hat to have experienced it.

For those of you who may have been following Ronnie Bennett’s journey, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago. Today’s column is entitled, And Now, Hospice.”

Ronnie, we admire your strength, courage, foresight and candor. Thank for taking us along on your journey.

“The Pandemic Broke End-of-Life Care In a Boston ICU” – The Atlantic

In a Boston ICU, staff members orchestrate goodbyes over Zoom and comfort patients who would otherwise die alone.


by Sarah Zhang

“When the coronavirus came to Boston, doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital noticed how silent certain floors became. Any patients who could be discharged were discharged. Anyone who could stay away stayed away. ‘The hospital had this eerie quiet,’ says Jane deLima Thomas, the director of palliative care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. But in the intensive-care units set up for COVID-19, machines beeped and whirred in room after room of the sickest patients. Those patients were sedated, intubated, and isolated. Many of them would die.

“Palliative care is about providing comfort—physical and emotional—to patients who are seriously ill, including those who may be close to death. Before the pandemic, deLima Thomas’s team worked with patients with kidney disease or cancer or heart failure, but this spring, they all switched to COVID-19. They embedded themselves in the ICUs. Palliative care is a field especially invested in the power of a hug, a steadying hand, and a smile. In other words, palliative care is made especially difficult by a virus that spreads through human contact.

“The first day the palliative-care doctors walked into the ICUs, Thomas says, “we felt like tourists.” They were dressed in business casual, while their ICU colleagues raced around in scrubs and masks. But the palliative-care team—which includes physicians, nurses, chaplains, and social workers—found ways to integrate themselves. In the early days of the pandemic, when protective gear was scarce, no visitors were allowed. Palliative caregivers, along with ICU nurses, held iPads cocooned in plastic bags so families could say goodbye on Zoom. They were sometimes the only one in the room when a patient died, otherwise alone. I interviewed several members of the Boston-based palliative-care team, and their stories, which have been condensed and edited for clarity, are below.”

Read this article in its entirety at The Atlantic, click here.

“Funerals in a Time of Quarantine” – Grief Perspectives newsletter from Charles F. Snyder Funeral Homes

grief perspectivees

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

INVITATION | A Circle of Life Virtual Seminar – May 14 @ 8:15 AM

circle of life 05-14

Meeting ID: 856 0677 5399     Password: 616942

Please click the link above between 8:05 and 8:10 to join the meeting.

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Dial by your location

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No RSVP required, just click the link above a little before 8:15am to join the meeting.

You can join from a PC, iPad/Tablet, or Smartphone Mobile Device.

The meeting is FREE and is open to the public.

There will be time for Q&A at the close of the program.

Programs presented by the Circle of Life Coalition do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the individual members of the Coalition.

“Palliative Care Helped Family Face ‘The Awful, Awful Truth’” – Kaiser Health News

Nurse in scrubs, talking on phone in operating room, rear view“The practice of palliative care is changing under the pandemic: Doctors and nurses are learning new ways to help patients and families communicate their treatment goals and make decisions about end-of-life care.” –  (Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images)

“Seattle mourned the news: Elizabeth and Robert Mar died of COVID-19 within a day of each other. They would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in August.

“But their deaths at the end of March were not the same. Liz, a vivacious matriarch at 72, died after two weeks sedated on a ventilator. Her analytical engineer husband, Robert, 78, chose no aggressive measures. He was able to communicate with their adult children until nearly the end.

“Clinician Darrell Owens helped the Mar family navigate this incredibly difficult time.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety.


“Portraits From A Pandemic: ‘Feeling Hollow’ In A Retirement Home” – NPR

“‘Well, I have to go in a few more minutes,’ she explained. She and her husband had recently updated their will, fixing married names of their children. ‘You need to be sure that the documents that the kids would need to have are in order. And so we’re going downstairs to find the notary.’”

portraits from a pandemic“Margaret Sullivan posing in one of her homemade masks, cut from an old sock. ‘Several people have seen pictures of them and they’ve very kindly asked if they could send us real masks,’ she said.” – Tyrone Turner/WAMU

by Jacob Fenston and Tyrone Turner

“In our first conversation by phone, Margaret Sullivan told me maybe she wasn’t a good fit for my reporting project, on people whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. After all, she had a comfortable life and was being well taken care of in a retirement home in Falls Church. ‘Living in a bubble,’ she said.

“But a few minutes later, she told me this: ‘My brother died about two weeks ago of the virus.’

“He was her younger brother, and lived a few states away.

“‘I’m the old oldest and he’s the youngest. And that’s outside the order of things.”‘

“My experience during the pandemic has been long days juggling kids and work. Worrying about money. Trying to schedule grocery deliveries.

“But for Margaret, the virus brings with it thoughts of mortality.”

Click here to read this article at NPR in its entirety.


Covid or No Covid, It’s Important to Plan | Now is an excellent time to assess your own situation and choose the best approach should the worst happen.” – The New York Times

important to planNew York Times article


“My phone rang with a FaceTime video, and my cousin’s face popped into view. We spent the first few minutes expressing our mutual disbelief and shock over Covid-19, acknowledging the insanity and underlying terror of these unprecedented circumstances. We joked about how our anxious mothers, with their endless reminders of dressing warm and staying indoors, had prepared us for this moment.

“Then my cousin stood up and closed the door to her room. ‘I want to talk to you about something more serious,’ she said. We both burst into laughter: What could be more serious than the end of the world?

“She took a deep breath and I watched her face crumple as she asked if, in the unlikely event that she and her husband both ended up extremely ill — or worse — I would be willing to drive the 300 miles to her house and get her young sons. Around the globe, Covid-19 has made people like my cousin realize their own mortality, bringing about difficult, but necessary, conversations regarding their end-of-life wishes.

“My cousin got her planning done in advance, but a friend of mine wasn’t so lucky.”

Click here to continue reading this New York Times article in its entirety.