Ep. 391 Dying in America: A Journalist’s Exploration with Ann Neumann

Learn about this journalist’s research into “the good death” and what she learned through seven years of study and travel across the U.S.

My guest Ann Neumann is a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s magazine, The Baffler, Guernica magazine, and elsewhere. After caring for her father at his end of life she became a hospice volunteer and began to research the meaning of a “good death” in this country, which led to her book The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. She shares some of the things she learned about death as she traveled the country and listened to opinions, beliefs, and stories about what constitutes a good death. Learn more at her website:


Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • How Ann’s experience caring for her father at the end of his life inspired her research for the book
  • How Ann and her family felt unprepared for the actual dying process even though they were receiving care from hospice
  • How the “gentle” marketing of hospice and death care services can obscure the reality of the challenges of dying
  • The tragedy of “false hope” being offered to patients rather than factual information
  • Where Ann found inspiration for each of the topics she covered in the book (e.g. medical aid in dying, pro-life movement, religious influence on dying, disability issues, prison hospice)
  • Why “dignity” can mean something different to people who live with disabilities
  • The extensive work needed to overcome racial disparities in end-of-life care and restore trust

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes. Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest patron Jason P. and thank you also the anonymous person who bought me 5 coffees! Your contributions make all the difference.


Ep. 348 My Living Obituary: Legacy Therapy at the End of Life with Maggie Gannon and Heidi Connolly

Learn about a new platform that helps people create their own obituary or legacy project to benefit their loved ones after death.

My guests are Maggie Gannon, an Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist who started My Living Obituary, and Heidi Connolly, an author, musician and intuitive coach who helps people write their obituaries. Maggie created My Living Obituary to help palliative care and hospice teams increase quality of life and improve patient experience. Heidi helps people using the platform craft their own stories to leave behind as a legacy for their loved ones. Learn more about their work at these websites:

Maggie: www.mylivingobituary.com

Heidi: www.theobitwriter.net and www.heidiconnolly.com

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The evidence behind legacy therapy to enhance dignity at the end of life based on research by Dr. Harvey Chochinov
  • How telling our life story helps us find meaning in our existence
  • Legacy therapy helps improve quality of life and decrease depression for patients
  • Studies have shown that family members benefit from legacy therapy as well
  • Listening to patients’ stories has been shown to increase their sense of worth and value
  • How the legacy therapy platform can be incorporated into the intake process for patients and used to measure quality of life and bill for advance care planning
  • Tips for writing an obituary:
    • Just get started
    • You don’t have to be a good writer
    • Make lists of characteristics, preferences, stories
    • Find a good “hook” for the story
    • Include poems, music, videos
  • The benefits of having a guide and a platform to help people craft an obituary
  • Creating your own living obituary before you die helps unburden loved ones at the time of your death
  • How this platform allows unlimited space for obituaries, unlike newspaper obituaries
  • How clinical staff can use the platform to enroll new patients and assist them with the life review questions

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes. Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference.

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Hospice

Ep. 201 Nurturing Touch as a Tool for Care of Hospice Patients with Elizabeth Erbrecht

Learn about the power of touch to bring comfort and dignity to patients at the end of life.


My guest Elizabeth Erbrecht is a massage therapist and end-of-life doula who specializes in touch and massage for the dying. We’ll talk about the importance of touch for all of us and especially for patients at the end of life. Elizabeth shares information from her guide book Nurturing Touch for the Dying and how to get comfortable touching our dying patients. Learn more at her website:



Get the book here.

Listen here.


This episode includes:

  • The importance of touch for human survival and wellbeing
  • The common fears of touching dying patients
  • How to use touch to support a dying loved one in a gentle, safe way
  • What to consider before using essential oils on a dying patient
  • “Safe zones” for initiating touch with patients
  • Why the ability to be present is essential for the power of touch
  • How simple touch can help people relax and let go during the active dying process

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on Patreon.com/eolu!