Fran Smith, Author, Changing the Way We Die; Blogger, Psychology Today
Sheila Himmel, Author, Changing the Way We Die; Blogger, Psychology Today
Is there really such a thing as a good death? How can people facing death live fully in the time they have left? Smith and Himmel are prize-winning journalists and former colleagues at The San Jose Mercury News whose fathers’ deaths propelled them to explore these questions and the nation’s $17 billion hospice industry. More than 1.5 million Americans a year die in hospice care – 44 percent of all deaths – yet most patients come in too late to get the full benefits. As 76 million baby boomers turn 65, commercialization by for-profit hospices threatens to undermine the hospice philosophy of compassionate, comprehensive, patient-driven care. Smith and Himmel examine the shifting attitudes and practices around death and dying, through the stories of patients, families, doctors and the corporate giants that increasingly own this “market.” What choices can each of us make now to get the best care possible when the time comes? How can we prepare to help those we love to die on their own terms? Join an eye-opening conversation about what you need to know before you need to know it.