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Lessons on Living from the Dying

As tough as it is to talk about,  sometimes many of us don’t realize what really matters in life until we or the person we love are knocking on “death’s door.” ...

As tough as it is to talk about,  sometimes many of us don’t realize what really matters in life until we or the person we love are knocking on “death’s door.”

In this Newswatch16 Special Assignment, Ryan Leckey shows us that sometimes the biggest lessons about living can come from those who are dying.

As part of his morning show preview pieces, Ryan introduced us to Maggie Ferrante of Exeter.

The 78-year-old Luzerne County woman talked about her journey toward death that started in a very dark place.

“I was just lying in bed, begging God to take me,” Ferrante said.

Maggie’s health issues stem from a debilitating back injury that continued to get worse and barely being able to breathe, something Maggie admits she did to herself from years of smoking. It led to a condition known as COPD.

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It’s a common lung disease that can often make breathing difficult.

Although Maggie admits she’s still dying, she says her outlook on life changed when she found Allied Services Home Hospice Program.

Podcast Information:

This special project also includes a podcast with two end-of-life care experts.

The guests are Allied Services Hospice Director Laura Marion and Geisinger’s Dr. Glen Digwood, a board-certified and fellowship-trained specialist in hospice and palliative medicine.

The pair explained the importance of having those tough talks with your loved ones now about what your end-of-life wishes would be if a circumstance left you unable to speak and/or make those decisions for yourself.

The experts also offered insight on the differences between hospice and palliative care and highlighted hospice myths and facts.

November is also Hospice recognition month.

Hospice Myths

  • Hospice means giving up
  • You have to be dying to need hospice
  • hospice is a place you need to leave your home to go to.
  • You cannot use your own physician in hospice
  • All meds are stopped

Hospice Facts

  • Hospice is about embracing each day and living comfortably and with dignity.
  • Hospice is for patients who have life-limiting illnesses or a terminal diagnosis.
  • Hospice is provided in your home, wherever that home may be.
  • Your physician will guide your care with support form a hospice team.

End-of-Life Care Resources:

These resources below can assist you in “End-of-Life” discussion starters. These are a few tools available to assist you.

The Conversation Starter Kit is a “useful tool to help you have the conversation with a family member, friend, or other loved one about your – or their – wishes regarding end-of-life care. It is available in several languages. All of the Starter Kits are available to download and print for free.” Click here for more.

Another tool is Hello, a conversation game.  “It's the easy, non-threatening way to start a conversation with your family and friends about what matters most to you.” Head here to learn more.

Another resource is the  “Five Wishes” website. “Five Wishes is a complete approach to discussing and documenting your care and comfort choices. It's about connecting families, communicating with healthcare providers, and showing your community what it means to care for one another.”

Five Wishes can assist with advance care planning for: