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Sunday 24 April 2016

Ireland - Advanced Healthcare Directives

12 key things you NEED to know according to the Irish Hospice Foundation

  1. Advance Healthcare Directives are recognised in common law but until now there was no legislative framework
  2. Under the new provisions, a person aged 18 and over who has capacity can prepare an Advance Healthcare Directive
  3. They must put their decisions on future medical treatment in writing and their Advance Healthcare Directive must be witnessed
  4. A person will be able to revoke an Advance Healthcare Directive at any time – verbally or in writing
  5. No-one will be under any obligation to create an Advance Healthcare Directive – people are free to make them but are not required to do so
  6. Having witnesses to the Advance Healthcare Directive is geared to prevent people being forced to make certain decisions
  7. You can nominate people who will be legally recognised as acting on your behalf at a time when you lose capacity and can ensure your Advance Healthcare Directive is enforced
  8. An Advance healthcare Directive only comes into force when you have lost capacity and cannot make a decision
  9. Having an Advance Healthcare Directive helps healthcare professionals in caring for you the way you want
  10. Having an Advance Healthcare Directive helps families as it removes doubt about what care their loved one wanted
  11. If there is any serious doubt about an Advance Healthcare Directive, a person can go to the courts
  12. This is not euthanasia or assisted suicide. These acts are and continue to be illegal in Ireland. An Advance Healthcare Directive is a method of obtaining consent for treatment in advance.

Friday 22 April 2016

ICCFA in New Orleans or “The Crescent City”, “The Big Easy”, “The City That Care Forgot”, “Nawlins”

New Orleans, Louisiana or “The Crescent City”, “The Big Easy”, “The City That Care Forgot”, “Nawlins” and/or NOLA might have a number of nicknames but one thing is for sure it is widely known for its nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, southern creole cuisine reflecting the melting pot of French, African and American cultures. What a location for the ICCFA Annual Convention and Expo 2016! I fell in love with New Orleans completely, despite a stolen purse, missed flights and the typical Irish weather dampening the experience.

 The welcome was superb. A taste of a true Nawlins funeral and wow what a send off!. You can see a video clip of it on my blog – It was definitely the best part of the expo for me. But what else was there that was new or interesting?

 There was UPD Urns – the Always bust is sculpted by world class 3D artists or bronze sculptors. The bust sits on top of a flat cremation urn where cremains can be safely stored. If ordered before a passing (preneed) the bust can be delivered so it is present for the funeral and the cremains interred after the cremation process and the bust can then stand in a family home as a lasting tribute to a loved one. It takes 6-8 weeks but as it is based in Oregon I would allow a further 2 weeks for shipping to Ireland. See more

As always, I’m delighted when I hear of some Irish lurking at these shows and usually I can find at least one! This time it was PLOT BOX. Having already covered the cemetery in DĂșn Laoghaire and currently commissioned to do all of the graveyards in Carlow, these guys are set for big things. The Plot Box team map cemeteries, from old closed historical grounds to 200 acre fully functioning sites. Especially important in Ireland where we still rely so heavily on paper for everything, these guys digitize existing paper trails into high resolution maps. Ancestry researchers will love this as life will get a whole lot easier as they can browse online databases to find graves and records of their ancestors. See more

One of the strangest booths at the show and one that may not be for everyone was Save my Ink Forever. These guys have developed a unique process of preserving a person’s tattoo after they have passed on. The embalmer removes the tattoo from the body following the directions provided by Save my Ink and sends it in a preservation box to the guys who then return it ‘preserved’ and framed. Its certainly not for the faint of heart but I can imagine it will appeal to some. Check out for more info.

 I have to give a big shout out to AP Lazer who gave me my very own personalized mini coffin – hopefully I wont need the real one anytime soon! These guys are trying to change the way we think of death care by focussing on memory care. Their laser machines are amazing and would allow a lot of funeral homes to personalize countless products at the touch of a button saving both money and time for them and the families they care for. For more info check out

All in all a great show with lots of innovation and also a lot of familiar faces which shows long term investment and stamina in the industry which isn’t easy. I absolutely fell in love with New Orleans and as I said despite the stolen purse, missed flights and the rain I still got to taste all of what New Orleans has to offer and she is vibrant for sure!

Friday 8 April 2016

20 ways to die in NYC

As compiled by the Village Voice.

  1. You fall through the subway grate on the sidewalk
  2. You fall through the sidewalk cellar door
  3. You fall off a roof
  4. You're struck by an exploding manhole cover
  5. You're hit by a bus
  6. You're hit by a taxi
  7. You're hit by a bicycle
  8. You're hit by a car on your bike
  9. You're hit by a falling air con unit
  10. You're hit by falling ice
  11. You're hit by a piece of construction debris
  12. You're hit by falling scaffolding
  13. You're hit by falling tree branches or trees
  14. You fall out a window
  15. You fall off a boat
  16. You touch the 3rd rail
  17. You fall down the stairs to the subway platform
  18. You fall onto the subway tracks
  19. You do the above and survive only to be hit by a train
  20. You're involved in an elevator disaster

What do you think? Have you escaped near death in NYC?
I mean these are all valid but what about murder, terrorism, heart attacks, cancer and all the other regular death inducing things?! Oh I forgot...its New York!!! ;-)