Got aging parents? These DVDs will help you discover the secret to good end-of-life care.
American medicine’s success at fighting disease and extending life has created a new problem. What’s the new problem you ask?
Well, we’ve gotten so good at prolonging life with advancements in our medical technology and treatments that we’ve fundamentally changed where and how Americans die.
100 years ago, most of us died at home surrounded by family friends, and neighbors. Today, however, most of us die in hospitals and nursing homes – alone and hooked up to tubes and machines.
As recently as 50 years ago, most of us still died suddenly from heart attacks, accidents and strokes. Today, however, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, 90% of Medicare beneficiaries and 70% of all Americans, regardless of their age, can expect to die slowly and incrementally from one or more severe chronic diseases.
And, we’ve increased average life expectancy by 7 years since 1970 alone, but that isn’t necessarily lucky, because increased quantity of life often comes at the expense of reduced quality of life for most people.
This historic shift, combined with the fact that patients, families and medical professionals still haven’t learned how to talk with one another about dying, means that we’ve created an end-of-life journey that is typically accompanied by a great deal of suffering.
Suffering that is physical in nature but also emotional, spiritual, social, and financial.
Suffering that impacts patients, loved ones and the medical professionals who care for them.
It is a problem we never intended to create and one that must be solved. But how?
Produced for public television by independent filmmakers Michael Bernhagen and Terry Kaldhusdal and broadcast more than 2,000 times on PBS stations around the country, the Consider the Conversation film series teaches us that communication between patient and doctor, husband and wife, parent and child, minister and parishioner is the key to living well at end-of-life.
There are two films in the series – Consider the Conversation: A Documentary on a Taboo Subject (2011) and Consider the Conversation 2: Stories about Cure, Relief, and Comfort (2014).
Both are available for purchase on Amazon.com.