Maintaining an emotional distance when reporting on life and death issues can be challenging; even more so when you’ve been following a subject for months, waiting for him to die.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Lane DeGregory wanted to investigate the frustrations many terminally ill patients experience surrounding aid-in-dying laws. She connected with a counselor from Compassion & Choices who introduced her to the key players in her story, “Prince Vinegar’s Last Stand.” Continue reading
While 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
While the idea of hospice and palliative care are slowly becoming part of the national health conversation, many people still struggle when it comes to talking about end-of-life issues.
Just like we all want a “successful life,” we also want to have a “successful death.” But what exactly does that mean? As new research shows, the definition varies depending on the stakeholder. Continue reading
The right to choose how and when we die has been a hot button issue for decades. Five U.S. states, Canada and several European countries have physician-assisted death guidelines. Advocacy groups hope to push through bills in several other states this year.
Many people with degenerative or terminal illnesses — including many older adults — see this as an option to not only relieve their own suffering and to go out on their terms but also ease the caregiving burden for their spouse or adult child. Opponents counter that those same caregivers — spouses, adult children of elderly parents or even those within the health system— will pressure vulnerable patients to make that ultimate choice against their true will. Continue reading
We’re all familiar with the very real issue of health disparities when it comes to receiving care throughout the United States. Those disparities also extend to the final days of life, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) estimates that 1.6 million to 1.7 million people received hospice care in 2014. The study noted that in the last two days of life — a time when symptoms are often intensified and families need additional support — visits by professional staff varied widely depending on race, day of the week and geographic location. Continue reading
It’s been some month. With so many high-profile deaths reported this January — David Bowie, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, Dan Haggerty of Grizzly Adams, the husband and the brother of singer Celine Dion, Mott the Hoople’s Dale Griffin – it’s enough to give you the shivers.
We know about these deaths because they’re high-profile celebrities and rock icons.We don’t generally know about the thousands of other, less-famous people who also died this month from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, complications from multiple chronic conditions or other causes. With the world paying attention — in part thanks to Bowie’s final gift of “Blackstar” – it’s an opportunity to extend the discussion surrounding palliative care, hospice and how we want to die. Continue reading