21 Days to Die
21 Days to Die: The Canadian Guide to End-of-Life
Linda Hochstetler, MSW
ISBN 978-1-896559-72-8 (pbk)
164 pages, 6.14 x 9.21 in / Illustrated (charts + diagrams)
A Greenbank Book / October 2021
For most people with advancing diseases, there are signs that death will be soon. Diseases have many trajectories, but at a certain stage, the ceasing of life becomes certain, with a predictable sequence. At 21 days, there are usually no more treatment options with any real promise of quality of life. Death is a mystery, and we don’t want to take all the mystery away. However, there are steps we each can take to be fully, effectively present in the process, including navigating how EOL care works in Canada. This book is published in the hope that all Canadians will come to recognize these signs. Together we can share this information and be ready to welcome death when the time is right with peace of mind and no regrets.
The book features an appendix with 18 practical lists encapsulating key points from the book, and more than 35 essential Canadian end-of-life resources with QR codes for easy, on-the-spot access.
1. Introduction to Hospice Palliative Care
2. Body at End of Life
3. Speech at End of Life
4. Mind at End of Life
5. Final 24-48 hours
7. Grief Support
8. Death as Opportunity
Quick Reference for Practical Lists
Palliative Performance Scale v.2 full version
Quick Reference for Websites and Books
Linda Hochstetler is a well-known Canadian expert in end-of-life issues. She currently has a busy Toronto social work private practice that specializes in illness, dying, and death. She worked for two years as a residential social worker at Bethell Hospice helping individuals and their families face the final three weeks of life. She taught the 30-hour HPCO (Hospice Palliative Care Ontario) training course to volunteers and professionals in York Region for PalCare Network, and did home visits through the CCAC with patients who were choosing to die at home. She also specialized in offering grief counselling in the workplace for 13 years and delivered Critical Incident Responses across Canada. She volunteered at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Kensington Hospice for people in their final weeks and months of life.
Hochstetler graduated in 1993 with her Masters in Social Work from the University of Toronto. She also completed the Foundations of Contemplative Care training with the New York Zen Centre for Contemplative Care, and completed studies in Thanatology at Conestoga College. She is certified in Palliative Care from Mohawk College.
She presents regularly at Hospice Palliative Care conferences and symposiums throughout North America. She hosts Death Cafés® and encourages everyone to talk more openly about their inevitable deaths. She is a Buddhist Lay Chaplain as well as a registered social worker, and has been teaching Mindfulness and Buddhist meditation to students for more than 20 years. She is the co-founder and Senior Teacher of the Awaken in Toronto Vajrayana Buddhist Sangha, and leads meditation classes, discussions, and weekend retreats.
"21 Days to Die is a welcome and important addition to the field of end of life care. It is delightful to have Linda’s voice and experience in the urgency and tenderness of this work." — Koshin Paley Ellison, author of Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up and Co-Founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care
"With a wealth of expertise in palliative care, Linda Hochstetler brings knowledge and compassion to a topic that many avoid, yet none of us will escape. Informative and thought-provoking, 21 Days to Die is an important resource that helps us better understand dying and death in Canada." — Dr. Naheed Dosani, Palliative care physician and health justice activist
"Give yourself the gift of reading 21 Days to Die; it is educational, compassionate and caring. Hochstetler generously shares her wealth of knowledge and experience in a concise book that will be a key tool for Canadians to deepen their understanding of how to care for and be with one another at the end of life." — Kathy Kortes-Miller, PhD, MSW author of Talking About Death Won't Kill You
"Linda Hochstetler generously shares life-honouring wisdom without beating around the bush, calling on her years of experience supporting the dying & those they leave behind. Linda weaves in ideas & approaches from various people & perspectives, including Buddhism, that can strengthen our capacity to consciously navigate dying & death, particularly in a Canadian context." — Chase Everett McMurren, MD, CCFP, MDPAC(C), Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto
Linda Hochstetler, MSW, author of 21 Days to Die: The Canadian Guide to End of Life" (Sumeru 2021) interviewed on the Spiritual Media Blog: https://www.spiritualmediablog.com/2021/11/09/interview-with-linda-hochstetler-author-of-21-days-to-die-the-canadian-guide-to-end-of-life/
And another interview on the Social Work Me podcast: