Posted on February 28th, 2024

Honoring Life Through Empowered Endings

Igniting the Spark with Stephanie James

Elizabeth Uslander, MSW, MTS, the Co-Founder and Director of Empowered Endings, recently joined Stephanie James on her podcast Igniting the Spark for an enlightening conversation centered around Empowered Endings’ mission to transform the End of Life Care.

In this interview, Elizabeth shared insights from her experience providing holistic end-of-life and bereavement care, in both traditional healthcare and private models of care. Drawing from her years of guiding patients and families through transformative journeys, Elizabeth expressed a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to empower patients to honor their goals, wishes, and values as they approach the end of life. 

Reflecting on the evolution of Empowered Endings, Elizabeth highlighted the critical need for holistic options in end-of-life care, similar to the birthing movement’s shift away from hospital births to include holistic birthing centers and experiences led by non-clinical teams such as birth doulas and midwives. She underscored the importance of providing access to resources beyond the confines of the traditional medical model, ensuring robust emotional, spiritual, and grief support for both patients and their families.

Elizabeth’s words emphasize the diversity of individual experiences at the end of life, and necessity for tailored options that align with each person’s unique goals and values. She stressed the importance of expanding access to holistic end-of-life care, recognizing it as a vital movement for society.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all experience,” Elizabeth remarked, echoing her belief in providing diverse options that honor individuals’ preferences and values. Her words underscore the importance of fostering open conversations and expanding support networks to ensure more people have access to the compassionate care they deserve.

Elizabeth and Stephanie delved into the significance of open and honest discussions about mortality, highlighting how such conversations alleviate anxiety and pave the way for individuals to live more fully in the present moment. They emphasized the importance of early and frequent conversations about end-of-life care, utilizing resources like Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal” and the “Five Wishes” booklet to facilitate these discussions.

Elizabeth shared her connection and passion for her work, and her hope for more individuals and providers to embrace conversations about mortality and advocate for expanded support networks beyond the traditional healthcare model. 

This discussion serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of holistic support and the importance of empowering individuals and families to navigate the end-of-life journey with dignity, compassion, and peace.

Give the full episode a listen here or below.