Compassion & making wiser end-of-life decisions (Dr. Jeff Spiess)
Episode #81 of The Impactors Podcast features #SocialImpactor Dr. Jeff Spiess, author of Dying with Ease: A Compassionate Guide for Making Wiser End-of-Life Decisions.
Jeff has spent his medical career with people facing serious illness and death, first as an oncologist, then as a hospice physician. He has lectured extensively and has been recognized as a leader in the field of end-of-life care. He has observed, through extensive clinical experience and innumerable conversations with the dying and those caring for and about them, the burden of unnecessary or avoidable suffering and distress engendered by the American tendency to avoid facing death as an inevitable personal reality. His medical practice and writing are informed by his interest in philosophy and theology, and he finds additional insights in depictions of dying in literature, including sacred texts, music, and popular culture. His writing provides information and inspiration, challenging readers to honestly encounter their own mortality to both die better and live more fully.
Jeff explores our options and considers the possibilities that can impact our final days, By avoiding the topic of death, we increase the pain and grief we experience at the end of life, and impact the suffering of those we leave behind.
Jeff argues that if we honestly face our mortality, we will make wiser decisions, die with less distress, and live the remainder of our lives, whether days or decades, more fully and with less anxiety. Using cultural and religious references alongside poignant narratives, this optimistic work informs, inspires, and challenges our cognitive and emotional understandings of our own lives and deaths.
Dying with Ease contains the practical nuts and bolts information about advance care planning, hospice, palliative care, and ethical and legal issues surrounding dying. Dr. Spiess answers such questions as:
- How can I plan for the last part of my life?
- What options do I have if my suffering is unbearable?
- What do religion and spiritual philosophy have to say about dying?
- What does it feel like to die?
COVID-19 has made many of us more aware of our own mortality. By putting the fear of our final days to rest, we can make wiser and more authentic decisions throughout the rest of our lives—however long they may be. Death may be inevitable, but fearing the end-of-life is avoidable.
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