Reporting on end-of-life care? Start here.

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

An op-ed in the October 4 issue of the New York Times reinforces the need for compassionate and comprehensive support for end-of-life care that spares dying patients and their families from pointless and confusing bureaucracy and needless expenses.

Image by Steve Harwood via flickr.

Image by Steve Harwood via flickr.

The editors point to Nina Bernstein’s recent article about a daughter that just wanted to honor her dying father’s wishes and bring him home. It’s the kind of reporting that strikes a personal and emotional chord with many readers. The editors also highlight new efforts in New York State designed to alleviate some of these challenges.

Sally Quinn’s discussion about Ben Bradlee’s battle with dementia and his admission to hospice care in a recent Politico story also resonates through use of powerful narrative and quotes.

Zeke Emmanuel’s frank article in The Atlantic about his hope to die at age 75 puts a different twist on end-of-life care issues. These articles — and others like them — combine a compelling story with the strong writing and reporting necessary to keep an audience engaged.

For reporters planning an end-of-life piece, Dying in America, the new Institute of Medicine report and the subject of a recent AHCJ blog post, is a terrific place to begin to put this issue in perspective. There are also many resources available on the AHCJ website for journalists covering this issue:

  • Our webinar with VJ Perikoyal, M.D., director of Palliative Care Education and Training at Stanford University, Nancy Berlinger, Ph.D., a research scholar at The Hastings Center and an author on end-of-life care, and San Jose Mercury News reporter and AHCJ award winner Lisa Kreiger
  • Links to hospice and palliative care organizations, studies, reports and websites
  • Key concepts for advance directives and long term services and supports
  • Tip sheets on hospice, palliative care and other topics related to end-of-life care
  • Data on spending, access and demographics

The AHCJ website also features shared wisdom and insights from your colleagues and peers that can add more scope and depth to your reporting.

End-of-life care is a hot topic these days; if you haven’t yet reported on it, you probably will sooner or later. Why not start here?

1 thought on “Reporting on end-of-life care? Start here.

  1. Kathryn Foxhall

    I have been impressed and relieved at Peter Whoriskey’s series in the Washington Post about problems in hospice care. A really bad personal experience plus conversations with hospice staff, etc., have led me to think it is not always what it’s cracked up to be. And that Medicare doesn’t have a good way to know what is going on.

    It’s an issue for every community in the country. But difficult to report on because it is often in the privacy of the patient’s home.

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