There are no easy answers to the many questions and decisions we are faced with when we or a loved one are navigating through a terminal diagnosis or a life limiting disease. Where once doctors had very little in their tool chests to prevent death, medical technology has now given us so many tools that we often don’t know what to do with them. Today, we can help people stay alive … but we can’t necessarily make them better; therein lies the problem. Now families have to decide what to do—how far to go and when to let go––and this is not easy. People are asked to make choices for which they are not prepared to make without sufficient information or experience with outcomes. Study after study shows that most Americans are afraid of dying a prolonged death hooked up to machines and yet so often, this is what happens. How do we begin to navigate this difficult terrain? In this talk, certified hospice nurse Michele Leinaweaver hopes to explain some of the most common and troubling decisions at the end of life including whether or not to be resuscitated (DNR), the choice about placing a feeding tube, and the decision to enter into hospice care.
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