Author Archives: Kelly McNaughton

Palliative Care: Dispelling the Myth. (Part two)

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young women holding hands with elderly womanIn part 1 of this series we left off with a few true/false questions for you to think about. Some of the answers may surprise you, run contrary to what you might feel inclined to do or say, or even make you a bit uncomfortable, but will hopefully give you a better sense of what we’ve learned about what dying people really need.

True or False:

1. One should always be honest with a person who is dying… TRUE

Information is a right. This can be enormously challenging, as we instinctively want to ‘protect’ our loved ones and feel that censoring negative or difficult information is for …

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Good grief (part 2)

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women sitting beside a windowBereavement, grief, loss. They’re part of the common human condition and can be complicated. What complicates our grief? Certainly the expectations of others: bereavement follows a timeline and that those in grief should respond or behave in a specific manner. If you fall outside of the “script”, or what is perceived as “normal”, scrutiny is laid at your feet! Let’s just agree that script and normal are dirty words when it comes to grief!

Now the test…

TRUTH or MYTH?

  • There are stages of grief that we follow as we grieve and progress
  • Grief and mourning are the same
  • It’s better not to focus on your grief but to
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Good grief (part 1)

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man upsetBereavement, grief, loss. They’re part of the common human condition. We ask ourselves when will everything return to normal or wonder if we’ll ever be the same again. We may stop at green lights and run the red, cry at the most inconvenient and unpredictable of times, and self-sabotage with wishful, and regretful, “if only” thoughts. Normal is an outcast. It is a setting on the washing machine not a benchmark in our grieving process!

Grief is a tidal wave of entangled emotions. These emotions can be experienced even more intensely depending on the significance of your loss, or your attachment, as well as the nature of your relationship to the …

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Palliative care: living with dying (Part one)

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elderly manPalliative care. It’s not a sexy subject and I’d even guess it’s on most people’s top 10 list of conversations to  avoid. Palliative care doesn’t typically conjure up warm feelings; instead images of dark shadows and strong emotions come to mind.  I learned this early when, as a fairly new grad, I accepted a position with the Palliative Care Team at a Hamilton hospital.  I had a sobering effect on a dinner conversation when I was asked what I did for a living.  It was enlightening as I realized that the subject of palliative care makes people anxious. Because of that, I expected avoidance from people yet, ironically, I often became …

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The art of getting support after a divorce (part 2)

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child sleepingSeparation and divorce are stressful life transitions; in fact, after death of a spouse, divorce is rated as the next greatest life stressor, and learning how to share the kids is often the biggest hurdle newly divorced couples face. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has navigated these waters without incident. There are no simple answers or a script to follow. But there are ways to reduce the stress and conflict, albeit they take practice and patience.

Perhaps one of the greatest insecurities and vulnerabilities we endure centers on losing the love of our children, losing time with them as they go between homes/families, or fear of being replaced by …

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