In the three short videos below palliative care physician Dr. Mike Harlos gives advice aimed at other palliative care doctors and nurses. He talks about how to communicate with family members as someone they love approaches death.
But I think there’s something for all of us learn from his gentle wisdom on how to interact with those who find themselves at the side of someone they love as that person dies. It also struck me that what Dr. Harlos says applies equally to people who live with dementia who many others think are “gone” long before the actually are.
In these three short videos (each is less than three minutes long), Dr. Harlos shares simple pieces of practical advice with respect to communication:
- Assume they can hear you
- Take it out of the room
- Make space for final conversations
I invite you to watch and listen, and hope you will be as deeply touched by Dr. Harlos’s words as I was/am. Just listening to his voice at once calmed me, and brought me to tears. As I watched the videos, I felt as if I were in the presence of an angel, albeit an earthbound one for the moment. I might have made the experience of dying with my mom more beautiful and meaningful had I been exposed to the Canadian Virtual Hospice before her death instead of after.
1 ) Assume they can hear you
2 ) Take it out of the room
3 ) Make space for final conversations
I wrote a poem about my final moments with my mom; it’s here.
Image copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo