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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 03/01/2023

Discussion with Martha Calihan MD the author of A Death Lived


A live & interactive discussion on end of life care and will explore ideas on how the think about it and approach it! In 2010, Dr. Martha Calihan's husband of 30 years began to die. Being combination wife, physician and founder of Five Stones Healing Arts and Wellness Center, she did the only thing she could do – she meticulously and compassionately described what that was like. 

Dr. Calihan is a Board Certified Integrative and Holistic Medicine Physician and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. 

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Questions Asked

  • Dr. Calihan's husband was the active agent in living his dying process. We as caregivers can learn to be their partners in this process. But turning this around, how do we help our dying loved one have the desire to LIVE the final chapter, however long that may be. My husband in deep dementia no longer has the capacity to live himself, and is being kept alive by me and the staff at his assisted living facility.
  • Based on your experience as a wife & MD, do you support the right to die on one's own terms when facing the end-of-life?
  • Dr. Calihan is practicing "integrative medicine" now. This type of medicine is not covered by Medicare and many other insurance policies. Why is that? How do we find integrative medicine practitioners that are covered by insurance?
  • My Dad wanted me to help him die, he was 92, in hospice, and had lost his wife of 62 years.  He had three different types of cancer.  I was a coward and he lived 1 1/2 years without his wife and it made me very sad.
  • I agree from my experience as a contractor and equipment installer that people want the rel story…they ar frustrated by medical folks who tiptoe around and avoid the real info on what the client should expect.  from Louis Tenenbaum
    • Is there some thing I could have done to ease his emotional pain?
  • Can hospice use morphine to ease pain at end of life, and can they use enough morphine to bring on death?
  • Unfortunately I just arrived and missed the resources in chat prior to my arrival. Will resource links be sent to attendees? Thank you.
  • Does the book talk about what you did after Charles dies to support yourself in your grief?

Positive Aging Champions offering Hospice and End of Life Support

Chat Transcript

12:04:51     From  Carla Andersen : Hi Steve and everyone. This is Carla Hope Andersen RN of Happy Hearts Home Care. Great to be here today.

12:05:47     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : 

Connect with Positive Aging Community Champions providing End of Life Support

  • BridgingLife Hospice https://www.lifebridgehealth.org/main/bridging-life-hospice-care
  • Capital Caring Health https://www.capitalcaring.org/
  • Goodwin Hospice https://goodwinliving.org/health-care-services/hospice/
  • Happy Hearts Home Care https://smoothmovesbodywork.wixsite.com/happyheartshomecare/death-midwife
  • Hospice of the Chesapeake https://www.hospicechesapeake.org/
  • Journey Hospice https://journeyhospicenj.org/
  • The Medical Team https://medicalteam.com/hospice/

12:06:49     From  Eileen Spinella   to   Hosts and panelists : Good Afternoon Everyone,

12:07:50     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : https://www.fivestoneswellness.com/

12:08:39     From  Eileen Spinella   to   Hosts and panelists : On behalf of the Goodwin Hospice team, thank you for having this great, important conversation.  Eileen Spinella, Goodwin Hospice Marketing Manager

12:09:07     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : A DEATH LIVED

by Martha Calihan MD https://store.bookbaby.com/book/a-death-lived

12:09:34     From  Tiffany Plante   to   Hosts and panelists : AGREED on Cynthia Shannon’s remarks.  We saw Dr. Callaghan in November and she was remarkable and so inspiring. You have a few on from Capital Caring Health this afternoon! ????. Dr Callaghan’s book is such a great story and importance of conversations to have.

12:09:58     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : From Tiffany Plante AGREED on Cynthia Shannon’s remarks.  We saw Dr. Callaghan in November and she was remarkable and so inspiring. You have a few on from Capital Caring Health this afternoon! ????. Dr Callaghan’s book is such a great story and importance of conversations to have.

12:11:51     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : From Eileen Spinella 12:08 PM

On behalf of the Goodwin Hospice team, thank you for having this great, important conversation.  Eileen Spinella, Goodwin Hospice Marketing Manager

12:22:04     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?  https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-palliative-care-and-hospice-care

12:22:57     From  Dixcy Bosley   to   Hosts and panelists : Can you explain the specific reasons why so many doctors are incapable of referring to hospice sooner than later?    Fee for service medicine ?  Fear of telling bad news? Time involved in  telling bad news?  Not understanding  what hospice does ?   I refer to hospice WITHOUT a doctors order , when unable to get  it, and let hospice assess and make decision of eligibility .  Their hospice doctor can enroll them when the oncologists/  PCP refuses to refer.

12:27:14     From  Louis Tenenbaum   to   Hosts and panelists : Great conversation. I found many clients who really wan ted straight info about the process and progress they faced.  Though I was am a modifications and equipment contractor I was often asked questions far behind my area and expertise with the statement, “You are  speaking truth to us. Many of the medical folks are avoiding the real story.”

12:28:07     From  Dixcy Bosley   to   Hosts and panelists : Your personal experience has made you a better doctor. I always ask doctors what would you do for your spouse to help personalize their  plan of care w my clients

12:28:17     From  Louis Tenenbaum   to   Hosts and panelists : Oops, Louis signed is as ssuan

12:30:46     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Compassion & Choices

We're an organization dedicated to improving care, expanding options and empowering everyone to chart their end-of-life journey. https://compassionandchoices.org/

12:31:18     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Final Exit Network https://finalexitnetwork.org/

12:31:40     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Understanding End-of-Life Options, including Medical Aid in Dying https://www.retirementlivingsourcebook.com/videos/understanding-end-of-life-options-including-medical-aid-in-dying

12:32:02     From  Dixcy Bosley   to   Hosts and panelists : If you support Medical Aide in Dying law and you live in MD, please contact your representatives b/c the vote is coming up again

12:32:14     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : From Dixcy Bosley to All Panelists 12:32 PM

If you support Medical Aide in Dying law and you live in MD, please contact your representatives b/c the vote is coming up again

12:34:01     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : The Future of Medicine For Older Adults https://www.retirementlivingsourcebook.com/videos/the-future-of-medicine-for-older-adults

12:39:28     From  Carla Andersen : open communication about how to be present and what type of support the "dearly departing" wants is a great place to start and recommit to day by day.

12:39:53     From  Nicole Largent   to   Hosts and panelists : Hi there! Curious if Dr. Calihan has any experience or thoughts on hospice music therapy? Off topic from the current conversation, so no worries if we can’t get to it! ????

12:40:36     From  Nicole Largent   to   Hosts and panelists : Also I had to miss a bit so please disregard if this has already come up too.

12:41:20     From  Gary Wederspahn : A Stanford Medical School survey of 1.100 MDs reported that about 90% would decline ANY of the interventions commonly provided at the end-of-life (expect palliative care).  Why is that?

12:44:02     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Five Wishes

The nation’s only national advance care planning program. Providing peace-of-mind for more than 25 years. https://www.fivewishes.org/

12:46:56     From  Carla Andersen : I provide Reiki and light massage to my clients and have found it can induce great relaxation and more restful breathing, especially when person is restless. Reiki can be without hands-on for a person who doesn't desire touch.

12:47:35     From  Adele Logan-Galen : Carla: please include your contact info.

12:49:16     From  Carla Andersen : thank you Adele. Steve added it earlier.  cell  757-818-3679. smoothmovesbodywork@yahoo.com is my email

12:53:50     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Some previous discussions on death and dying https://www.retirementlivingsourcebook.com/videos?q=death

12:54:32     From  Carla Andersen : that's my greatest wish too. Life is terminal and children should be exposed to these conversations too.

12:54:46     From  Dixcy Bosley   to   Hosts and panelists : Death Cafes   / Death of Dinner.   Lots of options in DMV to discuss death

12:54:59     From  Dixcy Bosley   to   Hosts and panelists : Death over Dinner

12:55:09     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Links to our Positive Aging Community Champions offering support https://www.retirementlivingsourcebook.com/search_results?sid=31&tid=83

12:55:39     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : From Dixcy Bosley to All Panelists 12:54 PM

Death Cafes   / Death of Dinner.   Lots of options in DMV to discuss death

Death over Dinne

12:56:28     From  Dixcy Bosley   to   Hosts and panelists : The Conversation Project

12:56:30     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : https://deathoverdinner.org/

12:57:01     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : https://theconversationproject.org/

12:57:09     From  M. Jane Markley : M. Jane Markley Consulting, helping people complete their advance directives and have the conversation so that they can give the gift to their loved ones.  www.mjmarkley.com  Any questions, let me know.  Thanks.

12:57:19     From  Eileen Spinella   to   Hosts and panelists : Goodwin Hospice offers a seminar on "Meeting You Where You Are:  Having the Conversation about Advance Care Planning".

12:57:58     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : From Eileen Spinella to All Panelists 12:57 PM

Goodwin Hospice offers a seminar on "Meeting You Where You Are:  Having the Conversation about Advance Care Planning".

12:58:43     From  Kathleen Steed   to   Hosts and panelists : I learn more every session on dying.  Now, I need to take action.  Thank you again for presenting these seminars.

12:58:54     From  Betty Bahadori : Thank you Martha and all those who shared.

12:59:01     From  Barbara Weidhorn : Thank you.  Helpful info.

12:59:09     From  Tracy Bland : Thank you, great presentation!

12:59:14     From  Barbara Korenblit : Thank you!

12:59:19     From  Kitty Devilbiss : thank you.  this was an amazing presentation.

12:59:22     From  Adele Logan-Galen : Thank you!!

12:59:37     From  Dixcy Bosley   to   Hosts and panelists : Teaching others how to die is healing your grief

12:59:41     From  JEAN IVORY : Thank you, Dr Calihan.

13:00:16     From  Susan Weller : Thank you Dr. Calihan for this insightful conversation!


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