A competition to design new hospice uniforms is an opportunity to see how multi-faceted hospice care is on the broader scale, and how smaller details can make a difference in the end-of-life care patients receive.
This new grief is different. For one thing, it includes the loved one with the diagnosis. It also draws in the entire family into a prolonged crisis that some of our interviewees aptly described as "learning to live with death."
Those of us in hospice care see one's final days as a continuous part of life's journey, not a land wholly separate and apart. The language and customs are familiar, not foreign, and the travelers are not strangers but are essentially like us.
The suffering and loss of dignity that are so central to the Kevorkian/Levinson view of serious illness aren't inevitable. Although you'd never know it from this film, there are alternatives to Kevorkian's death machine.
Commercial funeral practices put gallons of embalming fluid, and tons of metal and exotic hardwoods into the ground. And I was surprised to learn that cremation is equally polluting and energy-intensive.
More than ever, we need Congress to take end-of-life care seriously. We still need legislation that will encourage physicians to take the time to talk to patients about the choices that are available to them.