living your best to the end

BestEndings Flash Video Chat: Talking about dying

Impromptu End of Life conversation captured on video It started out as an experiment: there was a new video camera, an excuse to get together with a good friend who ‘does the lighting’ for movies and commercials. He makes everything look beautiful. And why not get in pizza and invite some friends, and get a proper lighting lesson and camera test. Pizza topping had to take into account various cultures: Hindu, Muslim, Mexican-Catholic, Irish-Catholic, Anglican. Chowing down, the ‘what’re you up to’s’ led to my continued interest in all things related to end of life. Sparked quite a convo! And so a purpose was found and a flash video chat created. The result was too good not to post. The question I posed: “Why is it so hard to talk about dying.” Starring: Mike Houlahan , Sudhir and Ruth Handa, Colleen Young, Georgina Camacho Ibarra and Majid Ariannejad It’s 12 minutes long, broken into 5 parts. Watch each separately, or ‘play all’ Part 1: End of life conversations are not an easy for Mike and his Dad, even tho they consider themselves ‘intelligent and caring men.’ Collen is not afraid of talking about dying and death, and knows her mother’s wishes for a ‘good death. Part 2: Ruth shares thoughts and insights on why many find it hard to talk about dying, end of life and death. Fellow BestEndings chat-ers identify with what she’s saying.   Part 3: Majid – developer of www.bestendings.com, shares the impact it’s had on him, as we talk and talk about and through aspects of dying and death, medical interventions, personal decisions. Mike give...

5 Steps to a Patient Centered Hospital

Which came first: hospitals or patients? Although filled to the brim with patients, hospitals were created to support doctors, not us patients. Historically, their organizational structure focused on doctors’ needs and doctors’ requirements. The concept of centering hospital care on patient needs and requirements is a relatively recent development. How can a hospital switch from being provider-centered to patient-centered? Shifting such a complicated and cumbersome behemoth a full 180 degrees is a huge undertaking. I believe it can be done. I’ve put much thought into this and feel my 5 steps are do-able and (relatively) easy to implement without interfering with the changes already in evidence organizationally and technologically. My 5 steps were born of an epiphany: Without us patients there would be no hospitals. Without us patients, there’d be no place for: practical teaching developing best practices; or solving health puzzles patients often present. Patients are hospitals’ raison d’être.  Here’s how you can make us feel more like the VIPs we are. 5  Steps to a Patient-Centered Hospital 1. Be Quiet. Quiet. Shhhh. We need a library environment. I don’t want to hear staff shrieking to one another down halls and across nursing stations. You have other options. You can get up and walk over to the person you are addressing or send a text (SMS, IM etc.), a Twitter message or an email. Silence the doors, drawers, cabinets, carts. No more slamming, ramming or bashing. We VIPs have sensitive ears and nerves. I know this quiet can be done. On hospital’s office floors for example, it’s dead quiet. 2. Paint. Hospital colours are depressing. We need something...

Health 2.0 Interview with Dr Pat Salber @docweighsin

Silicon Valley : Health 2.0 October 1, 2013 ..Presentation after presentation of apps and technology-based devices designed to help manage health. I aim to be there next year with BestEndings Mobile App.  Even with out a tech solution to dazzle, I was interviewed by Dr Pat Salber producer of The Doctor Weighs In with this lovely intro by Gregg Masters @2healthguru: Kathy Kastner sporting her ‘death kills’ T-shirt is a humble, though inquisitive force of nature who describes herself as follows: I’m just a regular gal who found myself pondering what I did and didn’t know about: my own anxieties about dying (not about death, mind you, but about my life until The End) what happens when I’m (in the process of) dying my knowledge of ‘options’ while I’m still alive my understanding of those options and their risks I figure I’m not alone, and that: I’m learning about aging as I’m in the process, but I don’t want to be learning about dying as I’m in the process my learning process may help others I can learn so much from...