Dr. Kevin Haselhorst, MD is passionate about advance care planning and has simplified the process to two words: Graceful Departures. Culturally, we tend to denigrate rather than venerate those dying, often resulting in patients being at wits’ end and physically exhausted. Most people reach a crucial decision point in emergencies situations, the threshold between life being unmanageable and death being a blessing. Haselhorst’s enterprising concept of Graceful Departures imagines the prospect of a good death. This premier “destination vacation of a lifetime” invites patients to indulge in heaven on earth during the final days of life.
As a child, Kevin had a big dream of becoming a doctor and ultimately graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis and worked at its Level 1 Trauma Center for nearly a decade. What was at first exciting, eventually became exhausting and Haselhorst reprioritized his life, moving to the desert oasis of Phoenix, Arizona. Though Landmark Education, Brugh Joy’s teachings and the practice of yoga, Haselhorst acquired a deeper knowledge of coping strategies and spiritual awareness that has served him both professionally and personally as a Valley Big Brother.
Dr. H has enjoyed a gratifying career as an emergency medicine physician. While often caring for patients near the end of life, he has become painfully aware that these individuals rarely seem to end life peacefully. These patients are typically burdened by multiple medical conditions, yet are repeatedly admitted to the hospital in hopes of holding off the inevitable. This results in patients and caregivers feeling more disappointed and less satisfied which accentuates the grieving process. Through writing, he has discovered introspection is vital to living and dying with dignity.
Kevin Haselhorst, MD is the foremost leader of compassionate end-of-life care through Graceful Departures.TM As an emergency physician at Abrazo Health in Arizona and author of Wishes To Die For and Sail the 7 C’s of Graceful Departures, he is a resourceful speaker, contributing writer for the Arizona Republic’s Ask the Expert Column and routinely blogs on KevinMD, the Conversation Project, Death Cafe and wishestodiefor.com.
If you're caring for a loved one with a serious illness, it’s easy to let your wishes prevent your patient from dying with dignity.
You have to be careful about what you say and how you say it, while having your patient’s best interest at heart.
My pocket guide, 10 Phrases That Stop Patients from Dying with Dignity . . . and what to say instead," will help you:
Download the pocket guide at KevinHaselhorst.com. You will also receive "Dr. H's Clipboard," my twice-monthly email tips for advance care planning.