Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Dying Well

Dying is as much part of life as birth, yet many dismiss it, hide it and avoid it.  Death is a taboo subject for many.  It is forbidden word of bad luck.  When such attitudes persist, how one experiences death or experiences death with a loved one can be negative.

It is important to face death as we face birth.  We need to live the dying process fully and despite the pain, stand by those who are dying.  David Kessler explained it best as how we used to meet our loved ones at the gate of an airport.   We met them there, but when their time to leave arrived, we walked them to the gate.  While this is no longer possible since 911, the idea and analogy fits perfectly.   We welcome many from day 1 and in some cases we also say good bye to them.  We cannot cheat the process.  We cannot just drop them off at the terminal and allow a shuttle to carry them off.  We need to be with them every step of the way.

Death is a sacred and intimate moment that we owe our loved ones. We need to be there and experience it with them. Dying well is critical to living well.

 

In honoring them, in honoring the death process, loved ones need to be with the loved one, yet many negative ideas on death prevent this important time of bonding.   Seeing death as the enemy, as a bad word, and as something to be avoided, leads to regrets later.  It not only affects the dying loved one in a negative way, but it also prevents healthy healing later for the surviving person.

How many times, do individuals not speak about the person’s condition, avoid the disease, maybe even avoid the dying person?  How many times, do individuals chastise other family members for speaking about death to the dying, or express emotion.

In addition to dismissing death, many hide emotion.  They think one must be strong for the loved one who is dying.  This prevents true expression of love.  It incurs unresolved issues that can later haunt the bereaved.  Most importantly, it prevents the dying to express their own emotions with the loved one.  So many chances are lost when death is not spoken about with the dying, or emotions are not permitted to be shared in this intimate moment.

So what do we speak about to the dying?  David Kessler and Elisabeth Kubler Ross would simply state, “listen”.  By listening, we give ourselves to the dying, and we also allow them to open up.  No conversation is wrong.  It allows the dying to express their frustrations, their fears, their dreams. It allows closure in things that may never find closure.

Somedays, certain conversations about the reality of death may not be beneficial.  Other days, simply talking about the game and allowing the dying to live suffices.  Other times, discussing death can help the person face the reality and discuss important matters, or share certain feelings.  It is critical in these narrowing days of life, that one shares what one feels.  To hide and take away this precious time of mutual disclosure will never be there again.

Hence it is important to share things, to discuss death, to discuss anything and most importantly listen.  It is also crucial to share emotion, to allow the dying to know it is fine to be cry too!  Too many times,  individuals masquerade their feelings in these final precious moments.

Dying well involves communication, sharing, emotion and togetherness. Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

 

Death is part of life and not something that should be done wrongly.  Dying wrongly or experiencing death with a loved one is not about how one dies but how one experiences that death or process.  One who experiences death with communication and no false faces is not denied the dignity of it.  One who sojourns the dying to the final gate, experiences its entirety.  It is far from pleasant but when dying and loved ones experience death fully together, then it far more healthy in the short term for the dying and the long term for the mourner.   It is a moment in time that is intimate and precious and one we owe our loved ones to experience fully with them.

That is the pain of life but it is part of life.  We must live life to the fullest and live it correctly.  Death is no different.

Please also review AIHCP’s Pastoral Thanatology Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  Care of the dying is an important field and the Pastoral Thanatology Certification can help one in helping others die well and in peace.

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on the Dying and Hope

Dying is part of life.  Dying is not a failure but a pivotal part of human experience.  No-one truly knows what is like to die but individuals can learn how to face it.  Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler wrote extensively on death and the needs of the dying.  They discussed vital aspects in how to counsel and listen to the dying.

One of the biggest things they emphasized was to treat the dying as if they are still alive.  To many times, the dying are seen merely as an old shell of what they once were.  The dying are defined by their disease, not who they were.  The term my “dying grandfather” is applied instead of my “grandfather who is dying”.  Dying is not the essential quality of the person.  The essence of the person remains.

Treating the dying as living human beings is the first key in Pastoral Thanatology

 

When listening to the needs of the dying, one needs to see the full humanness of the person.  They need to see the light within the person’s eyes, not the disease, the machines keeping the person alive, or the crippled body.  The person still exists.

It is essential to treat the dying with dignity and respect.  They deserve to be spoken to about their condition.  They deserve to be involved in the decisions, if conscious.  They deserve to be recognized.  This is family should not shun the conversation of death, or hide their conversations outside the hospital room.  The dying need to be treated as living.

The dignity of the dying is critical to maintain as a living person.   They need to be listened to, spoken to, and not treated as if they already dead.  Hope should never be denied.  Hope is a key element.  While some may remained to the reality of approaching death, hope can continue to fuel the dying.  Since they are alive, hope is still always alive.  To die with hope is not a bad thing.

Dreams of a cure, or a miracle are not bad things.  Too many times, doctors and healthcare professionals see death as defeat and not part of life.  Once the disease progresses to a certain point, they no longer view the person as alive.  They sometimes dismiss hope because of their own defeat.  Death, however, is not defeat.  Death is natural and is as part of life as birth.  Hope for life even during terminal illness does not mean one is in denial of his or her condition but that one is alive and ready to face any challenge, even to the very last breath.   This is the essence of the human spirit and the true meaning of being alive.

Never deny hope to the dying. Hope and dignity are essential to the dying process. Miracles may or may not happen, but noone should be denied hope. Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

 

One cannot label the dying as dead but treat them as alive.  One must see in the dying, the face of a man or woman in her prime, not defined by old age or disease.  Whether one believes in miracles or does not, whether one is spiritual or not, one cannot dismiss hope if they work with the dying.   Hope is a powerful thing.  Whether it prolongs life or does not, it definitely does not hurt the person.  If the hope is well rounded in reason but yet optimistic, one can live while they are yet dying.

One cannot dismiss the final time of death as wasteful or useless.  There is always a reason.  More time to learn, or teach others.   Family may come closer, or learn new things during the dying process.  Maybe the dying wishes to see one last person.

It is important to grant hope but also to discuss death, to let the dying know they are still a complete person.  They can accept death with dignity as well as fight for every breath, or they may succumb to death with the love of others surrounding them.   Only if the person is given the dignity they deserve while dying is there a true possibility for a happy death.

Dignity and hope are key elements of living the fullness of death.  It may seem contradictory to say living the process of death but that is what it truly is.  When we view the dying as already dead, there is no true process, no true experience of this ultimate event.  Death is part of life and hope and dignity are essential elements of “living” a “healthy” death.

I recommend reading the classics of Kubler Ross, as well as David Kessler’s works on the matter.  Their insight, experience and analysis of death are essential to anyone working in the field of hospice, pastoral thanatology or grief counseling.

If you would like to learn more about death and dying, or would like to become certified in Pastoral Thanatology, then please review AIHCP’s Pastoral Thanatology Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

 

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Palliative Care and Assisted Suicide

Good article on the importance of funding palliative care and assisting life and dealing with suffering than ending life through assisted suicide.  Pastoral Care is about preserving life and helping others find comfort in the end of life.

Pastoral Care never endorses assisted suicide but looks for helping others overcome. Please also review our Pastoral Thanatlogy Certification

The article, “Catholic Medical Association: fund palliative care, not assisted suicide”  by JD Flynn states,

“Palliative care involves medical care and pain management for the symptoms of those suffering from a serious illness, and refraining from taking actions that directly take the life of the patient, as opposed to the practices of assisted suicide and euthanasia.”

To read the entire article please click here

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification and see if it meets your needs

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Palliative and Hospice Care Differences

Good article explaining the key differences between hospice care and palliative care.  It is important to know which program is best for you or a loved one and to use them correctly.  Ultimately, it is about the best care and comfort for the situation.

As we grow, knowing what is best for ourselves is key.  For our family and ourselves, knowing whether Hospice or Palliative Care is best for us, is also key.  Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification
As we grow, knowing what is best for ourselves is key. For our family and ourselves, knowing whether Hospice or Palliative Care is best for us, is also key. Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The article, “‘That Good Night’ Perfectly Explains How Palliative Care Differs From Hospice” by Judy Stone states,

“That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour,” reminded me how poorly the U.S. deals with palliative care—a specialty that focuses on symptom relief—let alone end of life decisions and hospice care. The two terms are different and commonly misunderstood.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification Program and see how it matches your academic and professional goals.

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Hospice

So many think they are not eligible for Hospice and so many more think they have to die to enter into it.  These are both myths.  Hospice is available for many and is not necessarily a death sentence.  It is not about giving up on life but living life.

Hospice is not about dying but is about living as best you can.  Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification
Hospice is not about dying but is about living as best you can. Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The article, “Mark Harvey: You may qualify for hospice — and you’re not required to die” by Mark Harvey,  looks at the true realities behind hospice.  The article states,

So, basically, hospice care is not about trying to cure a terminal illness; it’s about improving the quality of the life that the patient has left. And it does a remarkable job of doing that.

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification to learn more and also potentially become certified.

 

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on End of Life Counseling

Good article on how end of life counseling can help individuals can face death and end of life with more peace and confidence.  End of life care is becoming recognized as something more and more important in today’s world.  Pastoral Thanatology is a way to help individuals face death and help families cope with the death of a loved one.

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification
Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The article, “They made me feel like a person”: Palliative care counseling changes lives for patients, families” by Holly Gainer states,

“The patients are not the only ones who receive care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Counseling for the patients and their family members is an integral part of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Also please review AIHCP’s Pastoral Thanatology Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.  Pastoral Thanatology is becoming more and more critical for behavioral health professionals and as well those who work with the dying.  If you would like to learn more, again, please review the program.

Pastoral Thanatology CertificationArticle on the Ethics of End of Life Care

Good article about the many ethics of end of life care.  End of life care has many spiritual, cultural and religious ideals surrounding it where one must care with proper boundaries and understanding of those traditions.  Furthermore, there is a list of ethical care regarding the physical aspects of end of life.  This leads to multiple ethical rules and regulations one must follow.

What are key ethics in end of life care? Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification
What are key ethics in end of life care?
Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The article, The Ethics of End-of-Life Care, by Joe Darrah states,

“Regardless of one’s healthcare condition, contemplating end-of-life care is never an easy thought process for the patient or loved ones. For nurses who are tasked with helping to guide decisions related to the initiation of palliative care and advanced directives, no two scenarios are the same and ethical dilemmas can often arise. ADVANCE recently spoke with three nurses who shared their most frequent types of ethical decisions that they’re confronted with and how they have attempted to navigate specific encounters.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification to learn more and see if it matches your academic and professional needs.

 

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Hospice Issues

Good article on when hospice care fall short

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification
Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The article,This Was Not the Good Death We Were Promised, by Karen Brown states

“When my father was dying of pancreatic cancer last summer, I often curled up with him in the adjustable hospital bed set up in his bedroom. As we watched episodes of “The Great British Baking Show,” I’d think about all the things I couldn’t promise him.

I couldn’t promise that the book he’d been working on would ever be published. I couldn’t promise he would get to see his childhood friends from England one more time.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Dying at Home

Dying peacefully at home is anyone’s ultimate death wish, but so many end up needlessly in hospitals in a sterile and cold environment.   Sometimes this is necessary but many times it can avoided with better planning.

Many elderly never get to die at home. Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification
Many elderly never get to die at home. Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The article, Most people want to die at home, but many land in hospitals getting unwanted care, by Andrew MacPherson and Ravi B. Parikh, states

“Where do you want to die? When asked, the vast majority of Americans answer with two words: “At home.”

Despite living in a country that delivers some of the best health care in the world, we often settle for end-of-life care that is inconsistent with our wishes and administered in settings that are unfamiliar, even dangerous.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

Pastoral Thanatology Certification Article on Regrets of the Dying

The dying can have many regrets.  Believe it or not one is actually not talking about or preparing for dying itself

What are some regrets of the dying? Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification
What are some regrets of the dying? Please also review our Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The article, These are the most common regrets of the dying, by Natalie Healey states,