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The story of the end-of-life experience of a palliative care physician who helped thousands of patients to die well. We all die. Most of us spend the majority of our lives ignoring this uncomfortable truth, but Dr. Larry Librach dedicated his life and his career to helping his patients navigate their final journey. Then, in April 2013, Larry was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Unlike the majority of us, Larry knew the death he wanted. He wanted to die at home, surrounded by his family: his wife of forty years, his children, and his grandchildren. He did. He was peaceful and calm at the end. Larry proved that the “good death” isn’t a myth. It can be done, and he showed us how. Ever the teacher, Larry made his last journey a teachable moment on how to die the best death possible, even with a pernicious disease. As hard as it is to guide patients toward dying well, it is far harder to live those precepts day by day as the clock ticks down to one’s own death, but Larry, together with author Phil Dwyer, chronicled his final journey with courage and humour.
An internationally renowned palliative care physician offers guidance on living with a terminal illness. Based on research funded by the Soros Foundation and extensive interviews with dying people. A profound and practical book about living with a terminal illness over a long period of time. It offers guidance, solace, and helpful strategies for people who are terminally ill, their families and caregivers. Facing death results in more fear and anxiety than any other human experience. Western medicine has accomplished a great deal in addressing physical pain and controlling symptoms for people with a terminal illness, but much slower progress has been made in understanding and alleviating psychological and spiritual distress. In What Dying People Want, Dr. David Kuhl begins to bridge that gap. He does so by addressing end-of-life realities — physical, psychological and spiritual — through his own experiences as a doctor and through the words and experiences of people who know that they are dying. He presents ways of addressing the pain, of finding new life in the process of dying and of understanding the inner reality of living with a terminal illness. He acknowledges the despair and recognizes the desire for hope and meaning. Dr. Kuhl also makes the provocative case that insensitive communication by doctors creates more suffering for patients than either the illness or the knowledge of impending death, and offers both the dying and their caregivers guidance on preventing painful interactions. He provides ways of speaking about difficult topics with physicians, family members, friends and those who have a terminal illness. “This book started with a research question: What is the daily experience of living with a terminal illness? How does that experience affect your sense of self, your relationship with others, and your understanding of the spiritual? Many of those I interviewed asked me to share what they had given me with others who would follow — those with a terminal illness as well as their friends and family members who would care for them and about them. They asked specifically that I write a book for a general audience, and not only for my colleagues in the medical profession. This is the book that grew out of that research.” — Dr. David Kuhl From the Hardcover edition.
Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most. Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. The Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves. As a renowned teacher of compassionate caregiving and the cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project, Frank Ostaseski has sat on the precipice of death with more than a thousand people. In The Five Invitations, he distills the lessons gleaned over the course of his career, offering an evocative and stirring guide that points to a radical path to transformation. The Five Invitations: -Don’t Wait -Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing -Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience -Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of Things -Cultivate Don’t Know Mind These Five Invitations show us how to wake up fully to our lives. They can be understood as best practices for anyone coping with loss or navigating any sort of transition or crisis; they guide us toward appreciating life’s preciousness. Awareness of death can be a valuable companion on the road to living well, forging a rich and meaningful life, and letting go of regret. The Five Invitations is a powerful and inspiring exploration of the essential wisdom dying has to impart to all of us.
This book isn’t about dying. It’s about life and what life has to teach us. It’s about caring and what giving care really means. In Awake at the Bedside, pioneers of palliative and end-of-life care as well as doctors, chaplains, caregivers and even poets offer wisdom that will challenge, uplift, comfort—and change the way we think about death. Equal parts instruction manual and spiritual testimony, it includes specific instructions and personal accounts to inspire, counsel, and teach. An indispensable resource for anyone involved in hospice work or caregiving of any kind. Contributors include Anyen Rinpoche, Coleman Barks, Craig D. Blinderman, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Joshua Bright, Ira Byock, Robert Chodo Campbell, Rafael Campo, Ajahn Chah, Ram Dass, Kirsten DeLeo, Issan Dorsey, Mark Doty, Norman Fischer, Nick Flynn, Gil Fronsdal, Joseph Goldstein, Shodo Harada Roshi, Tony Hoagland, Marie Howe, Fernando Kawai, Michael Kearney, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Stanley Kunitz, Stephen and Ondrea Levine, Judy Lief, Betsy MacGregor, Diane E. Meier, W. S. Merwin, Naomi Shihab Nye, Frank Ostaseski, Rachel Naomi Remen, Larry Rosenberg, Rumi, Cicely Saunders, Senryu, Jason Shinder, Derek Walcott, Radhule B. Weininger.
We all sit on the edge of a mystery. We have only known this life, so dying scares us—and we are all dying. But what if dying were perfectly safe? What would it look like if you could approach dying with curiosity and love, in service of other beings? What if dying were the ultimate spiritual practice? Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush began their friendship more than four decades ago at the foot of their guru, Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharaj-ji. He transmitted to them a simple philosophy: love everyone, tell the truth, and give up attachment to material things. After impacting millions of people through the years with these teachings, they have reunited once more with Walking Each Other Home to enlighten and engage readers on the spiritual opportunities within the dying process. They generously share intimate personal experiences and timeless practices, told with courage, humor, and heart, gently exploring every aspect of this journey. And, at 86 years old, Ram Dass reminds us, “This time we have a real deadline.” In Walking Each Other Home, readers will learn about: guidelines for being a “loving rock” for the dying, how to grieve fully and authentically, how to transform a fear of death, leaving a spiritual legacy, creating a sacred space for dying, and much more. “Everybody you have ever loved is a part of the fabric of your being now,” says Ram Dass. The body may die, but the soul remains. Death is an invitation to a new kind of relationship, in the place where we are all One. Join these two lifelong friends and spiritual luminaries as they explore what it means to live and die consciously, remember who we really are, and illuminate the path we walk together.
In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.
Caring for the Dying describes a whole new way to approach death and dying. It explores how the dying and their families can bring deep meaning and great comfort to the care given at the end of a life. Created by Henry Fersko-Weiss, the end-of-life doula model is adapted from the work of birth doulas and helps the dying to find meaning in their life, express that meaning in powerful and beautiful legacies, and plan for the final days. The approach calls for around-the-clock vigil care, so the dying person and their family have the emotional and spiritual support they need along with guidance on signs and symptoms of dying. It also covers the work of reprocessing a death with the family afterward and the early work of grieving. Emphasis is placed on the space around the dying person and encourages the use of touch, guided imagery, and ritual during the dying process. Throughout the book Fersko-Weiss tells amazing and encouraging stories of the people he has cared for, as well as stories that come from doulas he has trained and worked with over the years. What is unique about this book is the well-conceived and thorough approach it describes to working skillfully with the dying. The guidance provided can help a dying person, their family, and caregivers to transform the dying experience from one of fear and despair into one that is uplifting and even life affirming. You will see death in a new light and gain a different perspective on how to help the dying. It may even change the way you live your life right now.

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