The CBC’s new series on dying has a unique provenance: The stories are the work of 16 graduate students at The University of Western Ontario, as well as that of CBC health reporters, and are the final product of a unique journalism course focused on reporting on death and dying. The collaboration seems to have started with a definition of its title, “A Good Death.” In this case, it means one that is “peaceful, loving and comfortable.” Access to such an end, the journalists found, varied widely depending on economic, geographic and cultural circumstances.
The introduction to the package has wonderful descriptions of all the stories that went into it but they don’t link to the pieces. I’ve taken the liberty of adding relevant links, then copying and pasting that section below.
- Reporters Adela Talbot and Sean Leathong discover that children are among the most underserved in end-of-life care. The health care system is not organized to provide for their needs. Talbot and Leathong interview physicians in the relatively new field of pediatric palliative care and who focus on helping parents and children let go.
- Nicole Case explores why doctors have such a hard time discussing dying with their terminal patients, and how that discomfort can cause further stress and harm for patients and their families.
- Jared Lindzon looks at access to palliative care across the country and its dependence on private donations.
- Bethany Cairns and Mariam Ahmad report on why while most Canadians want to die at home, but few actually do.
- Alex Ballingall spends time with the health care workers specializing in palliative care to see how they cope with the intense emotions of their job.
- Music therapist, Jill Kennedy-Tufts, who records the thoughts, songs and prayers of the dying to leave as final gifts to loved ones, is profiled by Angela Richardson.
- The physiological and psychological relationship between love and death is described by Lauren Pelley.
- Chinese Canadian conceptions of a good death are examined by Fan-Yee Suen.
- Alineh Haidery explains end-of life customs for Muslim Canadians.
- Legal debates about pulling the plug and who gets to decide are examined by Brian Moskowitz.
- Heather Young discovers a variety of definitions of dying and explains why these definitions can make a difference in access to palliative care.
- Edward von Aderkas looks back and provides a fascinating snapshot of how dying has changed in Canada over the past century.
- And Trevor Melanson and Stefanie Masotti bring us up-to-date with an examination of the way social media is influencing how we die today.