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April 14, 2024 43 mins

My guest in this episode is Chaplain Hank Dunn. Hank is an ordained healthcare chaplain, bestselling author, and speaker who, for more than 30 years, has been helping patients and their families as they struggle with end-of-life decisions. In this episode emphasizes the importance of understanding these treatments as they may not always align with what's best at the end of life. 

His experience as a nursing home chaplain led to his involvement in ethical committees, especially after Virginia passed a Natural Death Act, granting patients the right to refuse treatment and have advanced directives.

He began educating families about treatment options, which led to the creation of a booklet. Despite initial reluctance from the ethics committee, research on CPR outcomes prompted the production of "Hard Choices for Loving People," addressing the complexities of end-of-life decisions.

He emphasizes that end-of-life decisions are not solely medical but also emotional and spiritual, requiring individuals to let go and accept the inevitability of death. He stresses the importance of palliative care, which focuses on comfort and symptom alleviation at any stage of illness.

Feeding tubes, hospitalization, and transitioning to hospice are major decisions discussed in his book. He addresses misconceptions about hospice, illustrating its role in prioritizing comfort over futile treatments. Orders such as "do not hospitalize" offer patients and families more control and thoughtful consideration in their care decisions.

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