end-of-life care

At Some Veterans Homes, Aid In Dying Is Not An Option

Feb 19, 2018
California Department of Veterans Affairs / calvet.ca.gov

California voters passed a law two years ago that allows terminally ill people to take lethal drugs to end their lives, but controversy is growing over a newer rule that effectively bans that option in the state’s eight veterans homes.

PTSD Complicates End-Of-Life Care For Some Veterans

Dec 19, 2017
Steven Tom / Flickr

Ron Fleming is 74 now, but he's spent most of his life trying to recapture what life felt like when he was 21, fighting in Vietnam.


Lori Wallace is sitting on a couch with her 11-year-old son and his new pet snake. It's burrowing under his armpit, as if it were afraid. But Wallace says it's not.

"If he was terrified, he would be balled up," Wallace says. "See, that is why they are called ball pythons. When they are scared, they turn into a little ball."

New Project Brings End-Of-Life Planning To Nursing Homes

Sep 28, 2017
Samantha Horton / WNIN/Si

The Indiana State Department of Health awarded a three-year $332,360 grant to the University of Southern Indiana for research into advance care planning in 15 nursing homes in Southwest Indiana.

Dying At Home In An Opioid Crisis: Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds

Aug 25, 2017
Kaiser Health News

Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why.

They sent home more painkillers for weeks. But the elderly woman, who had severe dementia and incurable breast cancer, kept calling out in pain.

Jake Harper/Side Effects

In sunny patch of grass in the middle of Indianapolis’s Crown Hill Cemetery, 45 people gathered around a large blackboard. The words “Before I die…” were stenciled on the board in bold white letters.

I Know You Love Me — Now Let Me Die

Jan 21, 2016
Boris Bartels via Flickr

In the old days, she would be propped up on a comfy pillow, in fresh cleaned sheets under the corner window where she would in days gone past watch her children play. Soup would boil on the stove just in case she felt like a sip or two. Perhaps the radio softly played Al Jolson or Glenn Miller, flowers sat on the nightstand, and family quietly came and went. These were her last days. Spent with familiar sounds, in a familiar room, with familiar smells that gave her a final chance to summon memories that will help carry her away.

Figure in sillouette at the end of a dark tunnel
MK1_FIESTA via Pixabay

This year, for the first time, Medicare is reimbursing physicians for the time spent discussing patients’ preferences for care at the end of life. For Dr. Larry D. Cripe, a hematologist with expertise in palliative care at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, caring well for people who die is an important part of his commitment to his patients and their families. So we asked him for his thoughts on what the new rule can- and cannot accomplish. Here’s Dr. Cripe’s reflection:

Bishop Gwendolyn Coates-Stone of the God Answers Prayer Ministries of Los Angeles gives a sermon about preparing for the death of loved ones.
Heide de Marco / Kaiser Health News

BUFFALO — Twice already Narseary and Vernal Harris have watched a son die. The first time — Paul, at age 26 — was agonizing and frenzied, his body tethered to a machine meant to keep him alive as his incurable sickle cell disease progressed. When the same illness ravaged Solomon, at age 33, the Harrises reluctantly turned to hospice in the hope that his last days might somehow be less harrowing than his brother’s.

Medicare Says Doctors Should Get Paid To Discuss End-Of-Life Issues

Aug 19, 2015
Jo Ann Farwell has a brain tumor and wants to make sure her sons are clear about her end-of-life wishes. After talking with her doctor, she filled out a form that Oregon provides to help those family conversations.
Alan Sylvestre / Oregon Public Broadcasting

Remember the so-called death panels?

When Congress debated the Affordable Care Act in 2009, the legislation originally included a provision that would have allowed Medicare to reimburse doctors when they meet with patients to talk about end-of-life care.

But then Sarah Palin argued that such payments would lead to care being withheld from the elderly and disabled. Her comment ignited a firestorm among conservatives and helped fuel the opposition to the legislation.

Her assertions greatly distressed Dr. Pamelyn Close, a palliative care specialist in Los Angeles.

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