Hospice care is a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient’s pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. In Western society, the concept of hospice has been evolving in Europe since the 11th century. The modern concept of hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill given in such institutions as hospitals or nursing homes, but also care provided to those who would rather spend their last months and days of life in their own homes. The first modern hospice care was created by Cicely Saunders in 1967.
Mom has been in hospice since May of this year, after suffering two mini strokes. While she’s not actively dying, mom is receiving wonderful care from the hospice nurse, the chaplain and the social worker. I’ve met with and talked to all three at one point and the knowledge that these awesome people are sharing love with mom in her care, and keeping an extra careful eye on her, has given me peace of mind.
It is, therefore, my subject of this month’s We are the World Blogfest.
I have chosen to share the story of B.J. Miller and Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.
B.J. Miller is a graduate of Princeton, a palliative care doctor and a triple amputee. In this TED Talk, he shares insights of hospice, snowballs, life and health care.
“We need to lift our sights on well-being, that life and health and health care can become about making life more wonderful rather than less horrible.”
The New York Times also published an article about B.J. Miller and the Zen Hospice Project.
“One Man’s Quest to Change the Way we Die” is a long read, but one that kept me mesmerized with the story of B.J. Miller’s accident while in college; his recovery and return to Princeton; his work at UCSF and as executive director at Zen Hospice; the story of his friend, Randy Sloan, who died at a very young age of cancer; and of Zen Guest House and its volunteers.
“The volunteers are ordinary people: Retired Macy’s Executives, social workers, bakers, underemployed Millennials or kibitzing empty-nesters. Many are practicing Buddhists. Many are not (Miller isn’t). But Buddhism informs their training. There’s an emphasis on accepting suffering, on not getting tripped up by one’s own discomfort around it. You train people not to run away from hard things, not to run away from the suffering of others, Miller explained. This liberates residents to feel whatever they’re going to feel in their final days, even to fall apart.”
The “We are the World” Blogfest is in its eighth month of a heartfelt journey. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts, Guilie Castillo, Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, and Mary J Giese , welcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!
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