End-of-Life and Funeral News Stories

Jan 17, 2023 | 0 comments

There have been several recent news stories about death doulas and end-of-life issues in the media. Here’s a roundup of those stories.

NPR: End-of-life doulas are working to make conversations about death easier

Talking about dying can be uncomfortable, awkward and heartbreaking. But a growing number of people called end-of-life doulas are working to make conversations about the inevitability of death easier for patients and their families…. Anyone can call themselves a death doula. No license is required and no accreditation agency oversees them. However, Alvin Harmon, the head of the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance, says the practice has been steadily growing since the pandemic.

Read or listen to the story here.

Reading NewsAlbuquerque Journal: One sister died in pain. The other passed away peacefully. A look at the rising use of New Mexico’s medical aid-in-dying law.

The state’s End-of-Life Options Act allows terminally ill adults to seek a doctor’s help to end their life. More than 130 people took the life-ending medication in 2022, and the pace is picking up as the law becomes more well known. Since it went into effect in June 2021, 170 people altogether have used the law, according to state records.

It’s also triggered a court challenge. A local physician and a Christian doctors association filed a federal lawsuit seeking to declare parts of the law unconstitutional. The University of New Mexico Hospital, meanwhile, is establishing a medical aid-in-dying program to help providers and patients navigate the law.

Read the full article.

Washington Post: Dying Can Be a Taboo Topic. Enter the Death Doula

Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. is hosting a series of events called “Death Doula Days.” Unlike labor doulas, who focus on childbirth, death doulas aim to ease the daunting dying process for people in their final days, offering emotional, physical and spiritual support. Death doulas do not address medical concerns, and they differ from hospice chaplains, as they are not religious professionals…. Death doulas help people live out their dying days as they choose — whether that’s reflecting on regrets, calling loved ones to say goodbye or simply sitting still.

Read the full article.

Kiplinger.com: Funeral Planning Can Prevent Further Grief

When a loved one dies, the grief experienced by family members may be overwhelming. Even when the deceased was elderly and the death was expected, it can be challenging to move forward with funeral planning and burial preparations. Imagine how much more difficult it can be for a family who loses a loved one unexpectedly….

Despite strong consumer protection laws(opens in new tab) and the licensing of funeral home directors, it is still possible to experience bad service from a funeral home. But with good information and careful planning, family members should have their moment to pay their respects with dignity.

Read the full article.

Older News Stories

TheConversation.com: What is palliative care? How is it different from hospice?

Palliative care and hospice care are two very different things.

Hospice care is a Medicare-covered benefit for people whose doctors believe they are in the last six months of life, and who want to stop treatments targeting their disease – such as chemotherapy for cancer – to focus on comfort. In contrast, palliative care is appropriate for people at any stage of serious illness and is provided alongside treatments aimed at curing disease.

Palliative care specialists like me are experts in treating physical symptoms like pain and nausea. But just as important, we listen to patients’ stories and find out what is most important to them. We help make difficult treatment decisions and address the sadness and uncertainty that often accompany serious illness. We walk alongside patients and their families at a time that can be frightening and overwhelming, offering comfort, information, guidance and hope.

Read the full article.

Psychology Today: Humor, Serious Illness and End of Life

Washington Post: The stunning rise of cremation reveals America’s changing idea of death

Washington Post: She’s fighting for a right to euthanasia. But she doesn’t want to die.

Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death®, is a pioneering death educator.

A Good Goodbye