with author Kathleen Vallee Stein
Sunday, February 16 at 2:00 pm
There is no guidebook on when and how to stop treatment of a terminal illness. On Sunday, February 16 at Crowell Public Library, author Kathleen Vallee Stein will share her family’s experience with hospice which she chronicled in the book, Loving Choices, Peaceful Passing: Why My Family Chose Hospice. Ms. Stein will offer an intimate account of how the myriad end-of-life decisions affect a family. Bob Vallee had the courage to accept his impending death and lived out his final days at home in his daughter’s care. He passed peacefully, in his sleep, twenty-nine days after entering hospice.
Ms. Stein’s personal experience as a family member, not as a doctor or hospice nurse, provides a window into how to solve problems of mortality, of caring for a loved one, and of the terrors and rewards of responsibility. She presents a lens-shifting view of role reversal as she takes on more, and sometimes unexpected, responsibility for her parents. Stein also contends with the onslaught of family issues, such as when her estranged brother showed up and resurrected family feuds and unleashed sibling rivalry.
The topic of hospice is monumentally difficult for families to discuss. Most Americans want to pass peacefully at home, but sixty percent die in acute care hospitals and another twenty percent in nursing homes,* often enduring aggressive and futile treatment. Stein’s candid recounting of her difficult, but also transformative journey can allow family members to talk honestly and plan ahead, thus avoiding unnecessary pain and suffering for their loved ones, and for themselves.
Kathleen Vallee Stein was the Manager of the California Department of Aging's Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) from 1989 to 1995. Her opinion pieces have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Pasadena Star-News and the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Visit her at valleeview.com.