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End of Life Care Explored

Published: October 12, 2015

Spokane, Washington - We prepare for life's most important events - education, career, weddings, birthdays and vacations - with careful planning. Yet, when it comes to serious illness and death, one of the nation's most influential leaders in hospice and palliative medicine says Americans just don't want to talk about it.

How to improve care through the end of life will be the focus of Live Well, Die Well, a community conversation with Dr. Ira Byock, chief medical officer of the Providence Institute for Human Caring, 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Spokane Convention Center.

Eastern Washington University (EWU) and Providence Health Care (PHC) are presenting the event. It is free and open to the public. Empire Health Foundation and Group Health are supporting sponsors.

"There are worse things than having your loved one die," says Byock, "and that's having your loved one die badly." Byock recently launched the two-year pilot Whole Person Care program at three leading hospitals in Southern California that bases medical treatment on a person's physical, emotional, interpersonal, social and spiritual well-being. Honest conversations about mortality among caregivers, patients and families offer the best care possible and opportunities to deepen relationships. "Dying is a time of living," Byock says. "It's time to reclaim this rich time of life."

Byock has authored three books: The Best Care Possible (2012) in which he tackles the crisis surrounding serious illness; The Four Things that Matter Most (2004), used widely as a counseling tool in palliative care, hospice programs and pastoral care; and Dying Well (1997), a standard in the field of hospice and palliative care. Learn more about his work at

After Byock's presentation, a panel of local and state experts will discuss end of life health care issues in Washington.

Presenters include:
• C. Scott Bond - President and CEO, Washington State Hospital Association.
• Gina Drummond - CEO, Hospice of Spokane.
• Lynn Kimball - Executive Director, Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington.
• Brian Seppi, MD - Division Lead Physician, Providence Medical Group, Spokane.

State Representative Marcus Ricelli of Spokane, who is vice chair of the Legislature's Health Care and Wellness committee, will moderate the discussion.


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