Information about Advance Directives and getting one’s affairs in order:
A program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, this is a community engagement initiative to improve care at the end of life. The site provides downloads of state–specific advance directives and a guide to planning end-of-life care.
A Graceful Farewell
This comprehensive soft-cover book by Maggie Watson offers clear, user-friendly, step-by-step guidance in getting one’s affairs in order. Its tear-out, three-hole-punched, fill-in-the-blanks pages cover a multitude of areas, including personal and family information, legal matters and final wishes. It is available from Cypress House:
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment
(POLST) Paradigm Program www.polst.org
The POLST mission is to facilitate POLST paradigm programs in every state. It also provides information on each state’s current status with regard to the POLST paradigm. In addition, legal and community resources as well as a guide to implementing a POLST program can be found.
POLST brochure from California Coalition for Compassionate Care
This site provides simple and easy-to-read information about POLST and a glossary of some medical terms discussed in end-of-life care.
Put It in Writing
This simple and accessible web brochure was created by the American Hospital Association. It offers information about advance directives as well as links to worksheets, tool kits, and sites with legal information.
This site is home of the Gundersen Lutheran’s Respecting Choices Organization & Community Advance Care Planning Course. This group offers a comprehensive curriculum which has become the
model for end-of-life care in many states across the U.S. and internationally. The site has links to a research library and offers various course materials and consultations.
Palliative and End of Life Care Organizations:
Coalition for Compassionate Care of California
The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California is a partnership of more than sixty regional and statewide organizations dedicated to the advancement of palliative medicine and end-of-life care in California. Their site contains information on research and public policy, guidelines for planning advanced care, and a link to download the California POLST (physician orders for life-sustaining treatment) form.
Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC)
CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for those facing serious illness. It provides health care professionals with the tools, training and technical assistance necessary to start and sustain successful palliative care programs in hospitals and other health care settings. Direction and technical assistance are provided by Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization—NHP C www.nhpco.org/templates/1/homepage.cfm
This is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to Hospice care. The site includes links to research, resources, care providers, breaking news in the field, and education opportunities.
The Eden Alternative is a small nonprofit organization making a big difference in the world. The organization’s core belief is that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth rather than a period of decline.
California Culture Change Coalition
This site provides information on the movement to fundamentally change the way nursing homes operate. Culture change in this context refers to care that focuses on people and relationships. The site provides education and resources on this concept and includes links to national resources as well as partners in other states. California Medical Association —Advance Directives
FAQ and Resources
Homecare/Social Service Organizations:
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) of the San Francisco Bay Area
Since 1850, JFCS has provided comprehensive social services to Bay Area residents of all ages and faiths. It helps solve personal problems—from cradle to rocking chair—in order to strengthen the individual, the family, and the community.
Seniors At Home
Seniors At Home is the senior services division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Seniors At Home houses a unique community based Palliative and End-of-Life Care Program, and has created a process for the transition involving caring for the dying at home.
Music and Art for Heart and Soul:
Electric cellist and vocalist Jami Sieber reaches inside the soul with compositions that are contemporary, timeless, lush, and powerfully evocative. Her style of performance has been recognized internationally.
The all-women Threshold Choir honors the ancient tradition of singing at the bedsides of those who are struggling—some with living, some with dying. The voice, as the original human instrument, is a true and gracious vehicle for compassion and comfort. The choirs exist all over the United States and in several other countries and provide opportunities for women to share the sacred gift of voice at life’s threshold.
Jennifer Berezan is a unique blend of singer/songwriter, teacher, and activist. Over the course of eight albums, she has developed and explored recurring themes with a rare wisdom.
Deidre Scherer Exhibitions
Created in thread-on-fabric, Scherer’s artwork lifts the invisibility that surrounds aging and mortality. Surrounded by Family and Friends, a series of six life-size tableaus, facilitates community dialogue about dying and death as a natural part of life.
Spiritual End of Life Care Organizations:
Sacred Dying Project
The Sacred Dying Foundation is dedicated to challenging the way our society experiences death and dying. The Foundation’s primary goal is to return the sacred to the act of dying by serving those who are at the end of life.
Upaya Institute and Zen Center
Upaya Zen Center is a residential Buddhist community located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a Zen center, daily meditation is open to the public. Other offerings include weekly public Dharma talks, which often highlights Buddhist teachings; a residential Path of Service and work exchange program; and weekly retreats and workshops that focus on practices related to engaged Buddhism and how to live in the world responsibly, with affection, kindness, and wisdom. Roshi Joan Halifax is the director of Upaya and teaches a yearly in-depth course for healthcare professionals called “Being With Dying.”
Zen Hospice Project
Inspired by a 2,500 year-old tradition, Zen Hospice Project aims at cultivating wisdom and compassion through service. They provide a spectrum of collaborative services in end-of-life care, including residential hospice care, volunteer programs and public education events, which support mutually beneficial relationships among caregivers and individuals facing death.
Final Passages is a model project offering education for personal and legal rights concerning home or family-directed funerals and final disposition (burial and cremation). Its intention is to reintroduce the concept of funerals in the home as a part of family life and as a way to deinstitutionalize death. It is dedicated to a dignified and compassionate alternative to current funeral practices. A resource book is available for sale through the web site.