Dr. Heidi Horsley of the Open to Hope Foundation interviews Dr. Helen Chapple regarding how you can care for your loved one who’s in a hospital or hospice during their end of life time. She’s an anthropologist and nurse committed to dying patient’s rights. Dr. Chapple wrote No Place for Dying: Hospitals and the Ideology of Rescue based on her own professional experience and finding that knowing how to care for a loved one at the end of their life is far from innate. However, there are few resources available for caregivers in this position.

As a nurse at the bedside, her interest was piqued. How is dying not happening properly in a hospital? It’s become her personal quest, and she still wonders why more people don’t find hospice. People shouldn’t be dying in a hospital when they’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. There are “first class citizens” in hospitals—those that will be getting better. They can be rescued. Those who are facing end of life are treated as second class citizens according to Dr. Chapple.

Priorities in the Hospital

When someone crosses over the threshold from “save-able” to a dying patient, there’s a big shift in how treatment happens. Suddenly the hospital doesn’t see them as eligible for first class rescue care. Rescue technology is always advancing, but even in the US where care is seen as exceptional there are challenges. Tech can be used here because we’re an innovative culture, but what about caretaking?

Dr. Chapple says that if someone collapses, we’ll pour everything into it. However, if someone you know is in a hospital, you can advocate for them. Pursue palliative care, or look into a hospice. They may not be able to advocate for themselves.

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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