The following is a list of recommended resources to get you started:

FILMS/ SHORT VIDEOS:

“Being Mortal” supported through FRONTLINE on PBS: FRONTLINE follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life. In conjunction with Gawande's new book, Being Mortal, the film investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors -- himself included -- are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.

“I Didn’t Want That” supported by Dying Matters: Commissioned by Dying Matters, 'I Didn't Want That' is a poignant and powerful short film highlighting the importance of making your end of life wishes clear.  Released as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2012, the short film was created to act as a stimulus for changing the way the nation thinks about death. 'I Didn't Want That' has been widely praised, and was chosen to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. 

WEBSITES:

Good End of Life:  Designed to help you think about planning your end of life focusing on qualitative aspects of your experiences by providing worksheets, resources and guides.

The Conversation Project: Dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end of life care. Guides and resources for how to start the conversation.

Ever Plans:  A secure digital archive of everything your loved ones will need should something happen to you. Think of it as a digital filing system and planner.

Gyst:  Provides you with a rundown of what is needed and what resources and sites are available to help you. The site also rates the resources and sites to help you make informed decisions, while also providing checklists, guides and resources.

Recommended Reading:

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler: When doctors refused to disable the pacemaker that enabled her 84-year-old father’s heart to outlive his debilitating stroke and dementia, journalist Katy Butler embarked on a quest to understand why modern medicine was depriving him of a humane and timely death. “Every day across the country,” she writes, “family caregivers find themselves pondering a medical procedure that may save the life of someone beloved and grown frail.” But, when is it time to stop intervening and let nature take its course? When is it time to say to a doctor, “Let my loved one go?” With a reporter’s skill, a poet’s eye, and a daughter’s love, Butler points the way to a new art of dying for our biotechnological age. – from the Cincinnati Library’s ‘Hot Titles’ list, August 11, 2013

Being Mortal:  Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande: In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones: "In her inimitably straightforward, informative and intelligent manner, New York Times health columnist Brody (Jane Brody’s Good Food Book) gives pragmatic direction to a concerned yet reluctant readership in this essential travel guide for the journey toward the inevitable. In pointing out that there is a difference between sensibly learning to accept death and surrendering, she reminds us that our attitude about living colors our approach to death. Thoroughly outlining all attendant demands and details for facing one’s end, Brody provides facts and support for families and patients, and makes it appear entirely possible to “go with grace.” With bulleted lists itemizing what needs to be done and how to do it, short portraits and anecdotes throughout, Brody covers the importance of preparation; the necessity of an advance directive and why a living will is not enough; funeral plans; living with a bad prognosis and dealing with uncertainty; caregiving; hospice; communicating with doctors; assisted dying; organ donation and autopsy; and legacies. An instructive, inspiring and reassuring work full of compassion and humor (along with several cartoons from various New Yorker illustrators), this volume belongs on every family’s bookshelf. (Jan.)"–Publisher's Weekly

Prepare Medically, Legally, and Emotionally for the End of Life by Jane Brody.

How Doctors Die

4 things everyone should know about end of life planning

Dying Matters: Planning Ahead

Worksheets

  1. Make a Plan
  2. Identify Your Advocates
  3. Hospital Readiness Planning
  4. Caregiving Guidelines
  5. Last Words