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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Death and the Most Interesting Man in the World

by Niamh van Meines

In a recent #hpm chat, we touched on the topic of “redesigning death”. The discussion moved to finding ways to insert hospice and palliative medicine into everyday life, moving away from medicalizing death to humanizing it, or re-humanizing it. Atul Gawande framed it very well in his recent speech at the AAHPM Assembly with one simple statement in regards to dietary restrictions: “Let ‘em have the damn cookie.” And again, at the Institute of Medicine conference on March 20th, Atul Gawande, touched upon emotions and desires that change for people as they grow older. Hopes and goals shift from a medical focus to desires related to being with certain people and enjoying simple experiences. The anticipation that well-being is possible even under difficulties of disability by putting the focus back on the person, no longer on the disease or treatment, and the life the person wants to live. Watch Gawande's full keynote address from the IOM below.

In keeping with that theme, a number of participants in the #hpm chat had suggestions about re-framing the perspective of the hospice and palliative medicine practitioner so that they can embrace “patient centered care” in line with what the patient wants. Here are a few:

And at the close of the chat Joe Rotella (@jrotellaAAHPM) wondered what the Most Interesting Man in the World’s take on dying would be. So here are a few thoughts, just for fun! Feel free to tweet your highly entertaining “interesting man in the world thoughts on dying” using the hashtag #InterestingEoL and share it on your social media platform of choice.

1. When he dies, he lives to tell you about it.
2. He gave his father “the talk”, and his father gave it back.
3. His memorial starts 6 months before his death, so he can enjoy the accolades.
4. Instead of the grim reaper following him, he is following the grim reaper.
5. His tears can alleviate suffering, but he never cries.
6. He is the life of the party at his own funeral.
7. He once enrolled with hospice just for fun.
8. If you have a peaceful death, it’s because he let you.
9. He can speak palliative lingo in cardiology terms.
10. His DNR order smells like cologne.

Niamh van Meines is a Hospice and Palliative Care Consultant and Nurse Practitioner at Practitioner Solutions. She assists hospice and palliative care organizations with program development, quality improvement and clinical education. For fun, she likes to hang out with 2 energetic beagles, listen to world music, and explore beaches & national parks with her family.

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