Tag Archives: dying

Award-winning reporter educates readers about end-of-life care

Death is not something most people want to think about, let alone read about in the local newspaper. Reporting on end-of-life issues takes sensitivity, sound editorial judgement, patience and tenacity to develop relationships with patients and families, to share their stories and for them to allow a virtual stranger into their lives during such an intimate time.

Luanne Rife, health reporter at The Roanoke Times, not only wrote extensively about these issues, she gave readers a close-up view of the process through intimate and memorable profiles. Continue reading

Defining Hope: An uplifting look at end-of-life

Photo: Defining Hope film

You wouldn’t necessarily expect a documentary about end-of-life issues to be uplifting. But at the premiere of a new film about the topic, the audience smiled and laughed. At other times, they fought back tears. Many mentioned a resolve to start talking about their wishes and goals. Continue reading

Colorado becomes sixth state to approve aid-in-dying law

dying-graphicstockWhile the dust may still be swirling around the presidential election, voters in Colorado were crystal clear about their support for Proposition 106, The Colorado End-of-Life Options Act. Nearly two-thirds of voters (64.6 percent) approved legalizing assisted death for patients with a terminal illness who desired it. A prognosis of death within six months would be required.

As The Denver Post reported, patients meeting this and other criteria would be allowed to self-administer aid-in-dying drugs to die voluntarily. Continue reading

How the discussion on dying has changed over 40 years: A conversation with Nancy Berlinger

If you want a refresher on how far society has come on dealing with end-of-life care issues — and what issues are still to be resolved — then this retrospective article in the Feb 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine from experts at The Hastings Center is a great place to begin. It reviews the history of the end-of-life care movement in the U.S., takes a look at the integration of palliative care into health care delivery, discusses the still controversial “death with dignity” laws and ethical issues like removal of feeding and hydration tubes.

I recently spoke with co-author Nancy Berlinger, Ph.D., a research scholar at Hastings, about how the conversation on death and dying has changed over four decades. Continue reading

Blogger’s journey in ‘Alzheimer’s World’ brings perspective to national plan

Last week was life-changing for Bob DeMarco, author of the Alzheimer’s Reading Room blog. It was the week that his beloved mother, Dotty – the inspiration for his blog – died.

Regular readers knew that Dotty was failing because DeMarco wrote about the end of her life as he writes about everything: with unvarnished honesty, deep insight and love.

There are others who have written well about the experience of living with someone with Alzheimer’s disease. But DeMarco did so more consistently than anyone else.

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Many other people – families, physicians, other experts, even advocates – refer to those who have Alzheimer’s as being lost to the world and themselves. DeMarco never accepted this. He was sure Dotty remained with him despite entering a different “Alzheimer’s reality.”

Day after day, he endeavored to map his mother’s new “Alzheimer’s world” for readers. Last July, for instance, he wrote about how to communicate with someone who asks the same question over and over again. The key is to enter into that person’s experience, DeMarco suggested. Continue reading