Thursday, February 14, 2008

Perspectives on Dying from Hospice Patients and Healthcare Professionals: (Video 4:28 mins.)

Too often, I talk to adult children who haven't discussed death matters with their elderly parents. Sometimes when they try, parents won’t participate in the discussion. Most people die in institutions, and planning ahead is very important. Advance directives, wills, and other death-related documents should be completed before a crisis occurs and should be readily available.

A research study by the University of Georgia Institute of Gerontology focused on end-of-life preparations and preferences of elders and adult children of elders. Interviews were held with the two groups. The study determined that barriers to discussions about end-of-life preparation and preferences were fear of death, trust in others to make decisions, family dynamics, and uncertainty about preferences. Factors that promoted these discussions were acceptance of the reality of death, prior experience with death, religion or spirituality, and a desire to help the family.

Casually approaching end-of life discussions and creating written records of preparation and preferences were considered successful strategies for expanding communication on this sensitive topic. Knowing good solutions to overcome obstacles and promote these discussions can assist healthcare professionals in encouraging elders and their families in planning ahead.

What are the needs of the dying? How can the end of life be integrated as a natural and sacred human process? This video titled “Solace: Wisdom of the Dying” presents perspectives on dying from hospice patients and healthcare professionals.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog


  1. Hello -
    I just read your article the need to be able to talk about end-of-life decisions and the video
    Solace: Wisdom of the Dying.
    I wanted to let you know I am also a documentary maker and hospice volunteer in Atlanta, Georgia.
    I've produced a short documentary about end-of- life decision making, palliative care, caregiving and hospice.

    It's called 203 Days.
    You can view it in its entirety at the following University of Connecticut website along with a study guide.

    It is an unflinching look at the day-to-day interactions between patient and caregiver, in this case an 89 year old woman who is living with her daughter.

    203 Days just won the First Place 2007 Film Award from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

    If you'd like more information please go to my website

    I hope this film is helpful to people who want to know more about some of the most common experiences for caregiver and patient at this difficult time.

    Bailey Barash

  2. Bailey, thank you for writing. I am familiar with your intimate and inspirational video. I highly recommend it to other readers. The video is about 27 minutes long. Viewers are provided with a means for going to specific parts of the video.

    Congratulations, Bailey Barash, on your well-deserved award. This is an excellent production.

    Frances Shani Parker

  3. Thank you Frances for your kind words.
    I'm glad you liked 203 Days and hope others find it useful.