Planning for end-of-life and HippoCamp for writers

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What to look for on Smart Talk, Thursday, August 22, 2019:

Talking about death and dying is difficult. It becomes exponentially more difficult when death is near, and decisions need to be made during a very emotional and stressful time.

Planning for end-of-life care is about deciding now how you want to be cared for during the final hours or days of life. Or in the case of a terminal illness, how that care should proceed as the disease progresses and you are unable to convey your wishes.

To clearly, and legally, establish wishes for end-of-life care there are advance directives. These are legal documents that define who will speak for you and is entrusted to make health care decisions when you cannot make them yourself. A Living Will describes the kind of life-sustaining treatment you do or don’t want in case you unable to tell a doctor yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney for health care allows you to name a person who will make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.

The best way to plan for the end-of-life it to have the difficult conversations before they are medically necessary.

Appearing on Smart Talk to share a new planning tool for end-of-life decisions are Dr. Vipul Bhatia, MD, Wellspan Health Medical Director, Continuing Care Services, Roberta Geidner, Horizon/Advance Care Planning Coordinator, WellSpan Health and Mac Brillhart, Esq., Stock and Leader Attorneys at Law and York County Bar Association member.

Resources mentioned by our guests include: Your Life Wishes, WellSpan Horizon Planning, and The Conversation Project.

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Mac Brillhart, Dr. Vipul Bhatia, and Roberta Geidner

Also, Journalist Jacki Lyden has seen mental illness, war, the destruction caused by terrorism and fashion up close. She’s written and reported on all those topics and much more throughout her 40-year career at NPR. Lyden served as a foreign correspondent for NPR in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other places overseas.

Her 1999 memoir — Daughter of the Queen of Sheba — describes growing up with her bipolar mother.

Jacki Lyden will appear at Lancaster-based Hippocampus Magazine’s Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers this weekend where she’ll talk about journalism and nonfiction writing at a time when journalist are often under fire.

Lyden joins us on Smart Talk Thursday to share her experiences at NPR and as a writer and storyteller.

Hippocampus Magazine is an online publication written for writers, by writers. Each issue features memoir excerpts, personal essays, and reviews by creative nonfiction writers.

For a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare, check out WITF’s Transforming Health, a partnership of WITF, WellSpan Health and Capital Blue Cross.

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NPR journalist Jacki Lyden (Doby Photography/NPR)