Temple Sinai: Screening of Film “Last Flight Home” and presentation on End of Life Options

Sunday, February 25: Temple Sinai Palm Desert. Time: 10 AM

Screening of “Last Flight Home” followed by a presentation on End of Life Options

This award-winning documentary introduces us to Eli Timoner in his final days and highlights his extraordinary life, one filled with wild achievements, tragic loss and above all, enduring love from his incredibly close-knit family. LAST FLIGHT HOME shares a heart-wrenching and stunning verité account of a family courageously facing both life and death. The screening will be followed by a presentation of End of Life Options by Rabbi Suzanne Singer, Board Member End of Life Choices California (EOLCCA) and Thom Bettinger, volunteer with EOLCCA.

Click here to watch a trailer for this must see film!

Questions: Contact, Speaker@endoflifechoicesca.org


End of Life Choices CaliforniaEnd of Life Choices California’s mission is to provide Californians the information and support to successfully navigate their legal end-of-life options.  Relevant topics include Advance Care Planning; the California End of Life Option Act (EOLA); eligibility requirements for Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD); and Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED)–a legal option in all 50 states. Our volunteers are very knowledgeable about both hospice and palliative care and can explain the differences between the two services.

Be sure to check our Resources page for Q/A; information on books, films, and organizations; sign up for our blog; see upcoming events; and so much more.  To request a speaker for your group or organization, click here.

 

Film Screening and Panel Discussion: Last Flight Home 11-4

Temple Emanu-El, San Deigo

Saturday, November 4: Temple Emanu-El, San Diego. Time: 12-3 PM

Screening of “Last Flight Home” followed by Q&A and panel discussion

This award-winning documentary introduces us to Eli Timoner in his final days and highlights his extraordinary life, one filled with wild achievements, tragic loss and above all, enduring love from his incredibly close-knit family. LAST FLIGHT HOME shares a heart-wrenching and stunning verité account of a family courageously facing both life and death. Plus, learn about EOLCCA’s role in Mr. Timoner’s journey. A Q&A and panel discussion will follow the screening with panelists:  Judy Epstein, Executive Director, End of Life Choices California; Rabbi Suzanne Singer, Board Member, End of Life Choices California; and Dr. Gaja Andzel, M.D. – Endocrinologist and Physician/Prescriber for Medical Aid in Dying, Southern California.

Click here to watch a trailer for this must see film!

Registration link: https://teesd.shulcloud.com/form/timetoprepare

 

 

 


End of Life Choices CaliforniaEnd of Life Choices California’s mission is to provide Californians the information and support to successfully navigate their legal end-of-life options.  Relevant topics include Advance Care Planning; the California End of Life Option Act (EOLA); eligibility requirements for Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD); and Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED)–a legal option in all 50 states. Our volunteers are very knowledgeable about both hospice and palliative care and can explain the differences between the two services.

Be sure to check our Resources page for Q/A; information on books, films, and organizations; sign up for our blog; see upcoming events; and so much more.  To request a speaker for your group or organization, click here.

Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) as an End of Life Option

Tuesday, September 12th, 11 AM.  This is an in person presentation for Elizabeth Hospice Volunteers.

Lynne Calkins, founding director of End Of Life Choices California (EOLCCA) will present the latest updates to California’s End of Life Option Act (EOLOA), trends in the utilization of Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), barriers to its use, and opportunities for coordination between EOLCCA and hospice.

The presentation will cover such topics as:

  • Advance care planning – Advance care planning is a process that enables individuals to make plans about their future health care. Advance care planning is applicable to adults at all stages of life. Participation in advance care planning has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety for patients and their families, and lead to improvements in end of life care.
  • Updates to the California End of Life Option Act – as of January 1, 2022:
    • The new bill reduces the waiting period between the required two oral requests to 48 hours
    • Healthcare systems and hospices now have to post their aid-in-dying policies on their websites.
    • The final attestation form is no longer needed.  
    • The amendment also clarifies that MAID medication can be taken within a healthcare facility.
  • Eligibility Requirements for MAID – Must be 18 years or older; Must be of sound mind and exhibit appropriate decision-making capabilities to the attending physician; Must be able to self-ingest the medication either orally or by pushing through an NG tube; and Must be diagnosed with a terminal disease, with a life expectancy of six months or less, by two physicians.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

End of Life Choices CaliforniaVisit EOLCCA’s Hospice page for more information about this important service.

Hospice is a philosophy, not a place, which provides compassionate comfort care at the end of life. The goal is to maintain or improve quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is not going to be cured, and from which there is no anticipated recovery. Each patient’s individualized care plan is designed to address the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the family during the illness and grief support after a death. For those who have an appropriate medical referral, the cost of hospice care is usually covered by Medicare, Medicaid or a third party insurance.

End of Life Choices California provides Californians the information and support to successfully navigate their legal end-of-life options.

To request a speaker for your group or organization, click here.

The Elizabeth Hospice: End of Life Option Act

Tuesday, August 1, 9:30-11 AM: In-person presentation for Elizabeth Hospice Social Workers

Join Lynne Calkins, founding director of End Of Life Choices California (EOLCCA) for discussion of the latest updates to California’s End of Life Option Act (EOLOA), trends in the utilization of Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), barriers to its use, and opportunities for coordination between EOLCCA and hospice.

The presentation will cover such topics as:

  • Advance care planning – Advance care planning is a process that enables individuals to make plans about their future health care. Advance care planning is applicable to adults at all stages of life. Participation in advance care planning has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety for patients and their families, and lead to improvements in end of life care.
  • Updates to the California End of Life Option Act – as of January 1, 2022:
    • The new bill reduces the waiting period between the required two oral requests to 48 hours
    • Healthcare systems and hospices now have to post their aid-in-dying policies on their websites.
    • The final attestation form is no longer needed.  
    • The amendment also clarifies that MAID medication can be taken within a healthcare facility.
  • Eligibility Requirements for MAID – Must be 18 years or older; Must be of sound mind and exhibit appropriate decision-making capabilities to the attending physician; Must be able to self-ingest the medication either orally or by pushing through an NG tube; and Must be diagnosed with a terminal disease, with a life expectancy of six months or less, by two physicians.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

End of Life Choices CaliforniaVisit EOLCCA’s Hospice page for more information about this important service.

Hospice is a philosophy, not a place, which provides compassionate comfort care at the end of life. The goal is to maintain or improve quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is not going to be cured, and from which there is no anticipated recovery. Each patient’s individualized care plan is designed to address the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the family during the illness and grief support after a death. For those who have an appropriate medical referral, the cost of hospice care is usually covered by Medicare, Medicaid or a third party insurance.

End of Life Choices California provides Californians the information and support to successfully navigate their legal end-of-life options.

To request a speaker for your group or organization, click here.

What actually happens during a MAID death.

As an End of Life Choices California (EOLCCA) bedside client volunteer and retired medical professional, I’ve attended both medically-assisted deaths (MAID) and non-MAID deaths. Most people who qualify choose MAID because they want some control over how and when they die once they are declared terminally ill. Their diseases have already taken so much control away from them.

Sometimes people never even take the MAID prescription but feel comforted by knowing they have it in case of need. Other times the disease progresses too quickly, and they lose the capacity to ingest the medication themselves as the law requires.  We advise people not to wait until the last moment to start the process of making their requests for MAID from two doctors. It can take a while to find a prescribing doctor if your physician won’t prescribe (or participate in MAID). Once prescribed, the medication must be prepared by a special compounding pharmacy and it could take up to a week to be prepared and delivered.

Our client volunteers are trained to work with people and their loved ones prior to ingestion to prepare them for the process, so they feel safe in deciding to just have family/friends present if that is their wish.  However, if needed, we are honored to be there the day they take their medication.

peaceful river scene
Questions

We answer many questions in the period leading up to the day of death and on that day itself.
As questions arise, we answer them all. 
Typical questions include:

  • What if the medications don’t work?
    Answer: The MAID medications prescribed by the doctor are lethal and are intended to be fully effective. With the client and their family, we thoroughly review the medications and procedures, and confirm that the client still wishes to take them on the day of death. 
  • How long will it take to die?
    Answer: Within five to ten minutes after ingestion, the patient will fall into a deep sleep and then into a coma and be unaware of anything else. It will take between 30 minutes and possibly up to four hours or so for the patient’s heart to stop beating. The patient’s loved ones may hear a few noisy breaths as the body shuts down. We will be there supporting the family and loved ones during that period and can help explain what may be happening as the patient passes away. 
  • Will patients soil the bed after ingestion or when they die?
    Answer: No, there is no involuntary release of body fluids during this process.
Being present

Most people prefer having two of our trained client volunteers present on the day they choose to take the medication. Emotions can be intense when someone is about to die, and it can help to turn the mechanics of preparation over to an experienced neutral person familiar with the process. It allows everyone else the opportunity to concentrate solely on their person and not be distracted by monitoring timing intervals between ingestion of the anti-nausea drugs and measuring and mixing the final medications, while still being present for their loved one. 

Experiences are as varied as individuals and families can be. Some people have a spiritual advisor offer a prayer or blessing. I’ve seen very quiet deaths where the volunteers withdraw to another room, leaving the group or family member alone at their request. I’ve been at deaths where the TV is on and everyone is reserved and not saying much. EOLCCA volunteers try to support their clients to have the death they want. Often the dying person is so ready for death they say things like, “Let’s get this show on the road.” Or, “I’m tired; I want to do this now.”

Mostly I’ve witnessed profound expressions of love such as: adult children and friends entwined with their dying person or stroking them tenderly, people singing to the dying, beloved pets snuggling next to their owners, last minute forgiveness amongst divisive family members, an aged  taciturn father apologizing to his middle-aged son for being too hard on him, and bikers regaling each other with tales of their escapades. The common threads are deep sentiments of love towards a cherished dying person.  

Dying man with wife
An honor

Afterwards, those present speak of grief, of thankfulness at being asked to be there for such an intimate experience, and recount stories about their now deceased loved one. EOLCCA has formed an online Bereavement Group specifically for family members involved in a MAID death, and we are able to offer them this option to help process their grieving.

All of EOLCCA’s 34 active volunteers consider it a privilege and an honor to help terminally-ill people, whether over the phone or in person, to have as much control as possible over when, with whom, and where they will die.

++++++++++++

Cynthia Tuttelman, an EOLCCA Client Volunteer, is a retired family physician and quilter living in Petaluma.

EOLCCA supports a strong team of experienced volunteers throughout the state, ready to help anyone, anywhere in California free of charge with information and support regarding all end-of-life planning and choices, including aid in dying through the California End of Life Option Act. You can find comprehensive information on our user-friendly website. To support our work, or request an educational presentation, please visit ways to help.  Thank you for your support!