Coping with Death in Healthcare


Blog post by Joseph Babaian    Chat Transcript from 10/13:

Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light.

– Dylan Thomas

I scrapped my planned blog this week at the last moment. Why? I read an inspiring call from my good friend @CancerGeek – he wrote, “What If – Fear or Love” and I highly recommend you check it out!

Andy said it all when he said this:

I choose to be vulnerable, to be creative, to share myself with the world, to take a stance, to have a voice

It reminded me of a pressing elephant in the room of all the work we do; that is, the end of life decisions that creep up on us in healthcare, those that fall into our laps, and those that come barging into the room like a hurricane.

I am not going to list all the current literature, all the best thinking, all the soft and obtuse ways I could approach this. Instead, I am going to ask the deep, connected, caring, & blisteringly intelligent #HCLDR community to read, think, and share their thoughts, beliefs, and hopes for making end of life something much more than we see, on average, today in healthcare.

I promise to stay off the soapbox, I know all of us see, feel, and hear this issue both intensely personally, professionally, and as a lingering concern that we often put to the back of our mind.

Some recent must reads to get you thinking:

“Death doesn’t come like it does in the movies:” What my mother’s last days taught me about our right to die.

– Rebecca Lanning in Salon.

To Die At Home, It Helps To Have Someone Who Can Take Time Off Work.

– Lynne Shallcross for NPR

My Father’s Shockingly Typical Death.

– Randi Hutter Epstein, MD, MPH for Huffington Post

Let’s consider where we’ve been, where we are, where we need to be as well as the implications along with the #hcldr community of professionals, patients, clinicians, administrators, lurkers, counselors, social workers, designers, and advocates! Please join us on Tuesday October 13, 2015 at 8:30pm Eastern (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1: How broken is the current #eol system in terms of *palliative care? Suggestions?
  • T2: What’s your view on present skilled nursing and how it meets/doesn’t meet the needs of our most vulnerable? Solutions?
  • T3: What experiences do you have that have shown you a new way to handle #eol & treatments as #eol approaches?
  • T4: What can we do to #shift the model and recreate the #eol experience in a way that puts care front and center?

*Keep in mind, for Palliative Care, I am using this encompassing definition:

Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis.


“My Father’s Shockingly Typical Death” Randi Hutter Epstein, MD, MPH, Huffington Post, Oct 09, 2015.

Accessed Oct 11, 2015

“To Die At Home, It Helps To Have Someone Who Can Take Time Off Work” Lynne Shallcross, NPR, Oct 9, 2015.

Accessed Oct 10, 2015

“ ‘Death doesn’t come like it does in the movies:’ What my mother’s last days taught me about our right to die” Rebecca Lanning, Salon, Oct 9, 2015.

Accessed Oct 10, 2015

“What If – Fear Or Love” Andy DeLaO, WordPress, Oct 10, 2015.

Accessed Oct 10, 2015.

Image Credit

End of Life Care – TEDMED


  1. Michael Fratkin · · Reply

    Fantastic Joe!

    I’ll be there with bell’s on. I have a lot to say on this issue. I’ll also try to scare up a few visionary folks from the world of palliative care and hospice.

    Michael 707-496-6846 cell

    (Sent from my pocket gizmo)


  2. […] With Death in Health Care. [ HCLDR […]

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