Death and Dying

  • Accepting Life’s Transitions (29 minutes, color) Aging is a series of transitions, some gradual and some abrupt. How do people come to terms with these changes? This program examines the aging process from beginning to end, defining age from the viewpoints of biology, psychology, society, functionality and the law. The impact of current behaviors and attitudes on one’s future self is also discussed, as well as dying—itself a part of life—and the stages of grieving. In addition, the program addresses the health challenges faced by older Americans and indicates why some seniors cope better than others. Purchase: $129 Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences and Insight Media)
  • Advance Directives and the Elderly: Making Decisions About Treatment Limitations (20 minutes) Three nursing home residents talk with their physician indicating their wishes to limit treatment. Topics specifically addressed are artificial feeding, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of antibiotics. Thomas Finucane, MD, Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Center. Rental: $100. Purchase: $300. (VideoPress)
  • Advance Directives: CPR in Nursing Homes (19 minutes) In this program, a physician, a nursing home resident and the resident’s daughter discuss CPR. In answering posed questions, the physician responds to their emotional concerns as well as their need for information. Thomas E. Finucane, MD, Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Center. Rental: $100. Purchase: $300. (VideoPress)
  • Advanced Directives: Your Living Will (1994, 23 minutes) Explains advanced directives, why you should have them and how to make them. This video provides guidelines for treatment if you should become incapacitated and unable to make decisions. Purchase: $89.95. (NIMCO)
  • Are You Listening: Widows (28 minutes) The widows in this program represent a broad range of backgrounds and experiences. They talk about their loneliness, their anger, their feelings of loss. They talk about how they have learned to cope with these feelings and reorganize their lives. The program does not attempt to provide solutions. Rather, the discussion is open-ended, providing rich material for group discussion following the viewing. Purchase: $300. Rental: $55. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Before I Die: Medical Care and Personal Choices (60 minutes, color) In the drive to save lives, American medical technology prolongs the dying process for many, creating a number of end-of-life scenarios that have done much to rob death of its dignity and significance. This Fred Friendly Seminar, moderated by Harvard Law School’s Arthur Miller, brings together a diverse group of panelists, including Yale professor Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die; bioethicist Arthur Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania; Rabbi Maurice Lamm, of Yeshiva University; and Anna Quindlen, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. Together they confront medical and cultural issues such as advance directives, palliative care, physician-assisted suicide, the need to re-spiritualize the dying process and the overall difficulty of discussing death. A Discussion Guide and other resources are located online at www.fredfriendlyseminars.org/bid. Purchase: $129.95 (VHS) or $154.95 (DVD) Rental: $75 (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • The Ballad of Narayama (129 minutes, Japanese with English subtitles, may not be appropriate for more sensitive viewers) A century ago, inhabitants from a remote mountain village lived in constant fear of starvation. Their lives were cruel, horrible and, at best, hopeless. To survive, a number of ruthless laws were passed. One of the most brutal was taking the elderly to the distant peak of Narayama to die. Home Vision program. Phone: (800) 262-8600.
  • The Biology of Death (29 minutes, color) This program covers the state of current knowledge about the biology of death and its causes, including the normal aging process. It also discusses legal and social response to death and the role of society in investigating and regulating it. Purchase: $149. Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences) OR Purchase: $139 (Insight Media)
  • Calling  Kevorkian: A Date With  Death (55 minutes) Never-before-seen interviews, videotapes, archival footage and photographs are used in this HBO documentary to examine the “self-execution” practices of  Jack Kevorkian—“ Death”—who, since 1990, has assisted in the suicide of over 70 people suffering from agonizing illnesses. Included in the program are case studies of four women whom Kevorkian helped to die. In interviews conducted before their deaths, the women discuss the physical and emotional agony that prompted their decisions and express frustrations with laws prohibiting suicide and euthanasia. Kevorkian and his lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, are also interviewed. Fieger defends Kevorkian form a legal standpoint. Kevorkian first offers an eloquent defense in his own behalf, then illustrates how his “self-execution” machine induces coma, paralysis of the heart muscle and eventually, death. Purchase: $129. Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Care of the Dying Series This four tape series is appropriate for health care workers in hospitals, long-term care and home care. It will enable health care workers to offer choices to elderly terminally ill patients and support decisions to accept death as part of human existence. Purchase: $400 – VHS (Video Press)
    • Learning about Dying: Death the Final Stage of Growth (20 minutes) This program provides a philosophical appreciation of human existence- birth, growth and death- the spectrum of life. As caregivers to the elderly, understanding, acceptance and comfort with the subject of death and dying will help you and your patients. Cynthia Corbin, RN, Hospice Patient Care Coordinator, Visiting Nurse Association of Maryland. Rental: $100. Purchase: $150 – VHS (Video Press)
    • Making Decisions and Plans (20 minutes) This program presents a discussion in which a physician explains to a patient that no cure exists for the patient’s condition. Topics include: support provided by the health care team; advance directives; treatment options; and quality of life. Debra Wertheimer, MD, Medical Doctor, Visiting Nurse Association Hospice Program. Rental: $100. Purchase: $150 – DVD. (Video Press)
    • Comfort Measures at the End of Life (37 minutes) Terminally ill patients who elect not to pursue curative treatment deserve the best possible care. Health care providers must know how to provide pain control and symptom management for physical comfort. They must also be able to discuss the physiological ramifications and basic ethical principles of withholding artificial nutrition and hydration. Finally it is essential, whenever possible, to involve the family in supporting and implementing decisions. Rita Mastroianni, RN, MS, VNA. Rental: $100. Purchase: $150 – VHS. (Video Press)
    • A Conspiracy of Silence: Helping the Patient and Family to Live with Terminal Illness (20 minutes) Effective care for terminally ill patients and their families involves education about death and dying. Health care workers often find loving, caring families unable to share their fears, worries and strengths. A “conspiracy of silence” is developed to protect the patient. Through open communication, the health care professional can help patients and families replace fear and distress with spiritual and emotional strength to give life’s final stage a sense of peace and meaning. Morris Klank, LCSW, BCD, VNA. Rental: $100. Purchase: $150 – VHS (Video Press)
  • Caring for the Terminally Ill (19 minutes, color) This program emphasizes that the goal of care for the terminally ill is not to conquer the patient’s disease but to provide support and enhance what time remains. The program shows the role of the spouse, visiting nurses and hospice personnel in caring for patients; a social worker explains how terminally ill patients often feel abandoned by family members because of emotional and financial stress. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Cheating Death (29 minutes) This videotape examines a new direction in genetic research - the isolating and rendering ineffective of hormones and/or genes that cause old age and death. Through interviews with scientists, philosophers and "people on the street,” the social, religious and economic implications of staying young or living forever are closely and at times, humorously examined. Purchase: $179. Rental: $50. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Cultural Considerations in Death and Dying (90 minutes) Death and dying is a complex and delicate area of practice for many healthcare professionals.  This video explains the need for culturally sensitive intervention the meet the needs of clients.  It presents a panel of experts from various areas in healthcare, who discuss diverse perspectives on heath and explain the nature of cultural sensitivity.  Purchase: $259 (Insight Media)
  • The Day I Died: The Mind, the Brain and Near-Death Experiences (60 minutes) Recent studies of cardiac arrest survivors suggest that near-death experiences may occur at times when the brain has actually stopped functioning.  Drawing conclusions from that research, this movie dares to suggest that the mind is not dependent on the brain – and that NDEs may confirm it.  “That the mind is located in the brain is just a hypothesis.  It’s never been proven,” says cardiologist Pim van Lommel.  Accounts of NDEs, shared by the people who experienced them, are analyzed by researches and skeptics alike, providing a balanced look at a theory of mind that, at least in scientific circles, has previously been all but unthinkable. Purchase: $149.95 (Films for the Humanities and Sciences)
  • Death (23 minutes, color) This program shows that death is an essential element in the survival of species. Medicine is trying to postpone death and medical progress has required a new definition of death: cerebral death. The program covers the psychological and social dimensions of death, mourning and the acceptance of death. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Death: An Overview (50 minutes) This step-by-step program takes the myth and mystery out of the process of dying and death itself and presents both as biological and clinical realities. An 82-year-old terminally ill patient and those who provide palliative care witness the death process. Cameras also venture behind the closed doors of a mortuary to shed light on the scientific and commercial aspects of death, including body preparation, embalming and cremation. Purchase: $149.95 (VHS) or $174.95 (DVD). Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Death and Dying (30 minutes) The experience of death and dying is complicated by cultural attitudes, age, severity of illness or injury and legal and ethical concerns. This program examines how these issues affect the decision to prolong life through the continuation of medical support. Purchase: $109. (Insight Media)
  • Death and Dying: The Final Chapter (30 minutes) The experience of death and dying is complicated by cultural attitudes, as well as by age, severity of illness or injury and legal and ethical concerns.  This video examines how these issues affect the decision to prolong life through the continuation of medical support.  It considers the hospice movement and discusses the importance of familial and social support networks in easing the pain of family members.  Purchase: $139 (Insight Media)
  • Death and Dying: The Physician’s Perspective (29 minutes) By Elizabeth Bradbury. How do doctors talk about death? How do they decide when to intervene, how to answer a patient who says he’s dying, how to tell the family? Purchase: $69. Rental: $50 per day, or $100 per week. (Fanlight Productions)
  • Death, Dying, Bereavement and Widowhood (29 minutes) Offering sociocultural and multicultural perspectives on dying and bereavement, this video uses the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to address the discussion of death.  It traces the process of bereavement and considers the state of widowhood in men and women.  Purchase: $139 (Insight Media), $89.95-VHS or DVD (Magna Systems)
  • The Death Knell of Old Age: The Physical Aspects of Death (25 minutes) Bob has come to the end of the road. At the age of 87, his body can no longer mend itself. This program tracks the final hours of Bob’s life as he quietly expires at home. Spectacular 3-D computer animations of cellular damage by free radicals, optic degeneration of the heart, blood vessels, bronchi, ears and stomach lining and thermal imaging of bodily heat loss illustrate the body’s inability to heal and renew itself. Purchase: $129 Rental: $75 (Films for the Humanities & Sciences) OR Purchase: $159 (Insight Media)
  • Death on Request (57 minutes) This powerful new film from The Netherlands presents the issues of euthanasia from the very human perspectives of those involved, without venturing into social, political, or ethical polemics. Following a man who is in the last stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease as he chooses euthanasia to end his suffering, this moving documentary includes his perspective and those of his wife and his physician as it explores the emotional, ethical and medical complexity of this contemporary dilemma. With English subtitles. Released in association with First Run/Icarus Films. Purchase: $285. (Fanlight Productions)
  • Death on My Own Terms: Right or Privilege (57 minutes) Cutting to the very essence of human life and dignity, this video explores what may be our biggest fear—how we die. In this program, people share their medical, religious, legal and personal perspectives on physician-assisted suicide. Purchase: $165. Rental: $55.00. (Terra Nova Films)
  • A Desperate Act: Suicide and the Elderly (24 minutes, color) Families are often ashamed of it, institutions frequently downplay it and society usually denies that it even exists: suicide among the elderly. This program comes the grips with the chronic depression that leads too many senior citizens to take their own lives. Promoting prevention, intervention and follow-up, medical experts use three case studies as a basis for discussing the warning signs of depression and treatment through counseling, education, medication, electroconvulsive therapy and occupational therapy. Ageism and the marginalization of seniors in a youth-dominated culture are also addressed. Purchase: VHS $89.95 or DVD $114.95 (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Dying (97 minutes) This film is a personal, profound and poignant memoir of three people and how they faced their deaths. The film focuses on three people with terminal cancer. Sally, a 46-year-old with brain cancer, comes home to her mother’s house to die. In a rare study of shared grief, the elderly mother and the dying daughter are connected by the daily tasks of caregiving. The middle story is about Bill, dying in his early 30’s and his wife Harriet. Bill is stoic but his wife rages against her fate of being left alone with their two growing children. The third is the story of Reverend Bryant, a thin black preacher whose unassuming manner shows his courage as his life slides to an end. On learning he has no chance of a cure, he preaches a sermon on dying, returns south with his family for one last look around and at the end, with his grandchildren playing at his bedside, dies with dignity. Filmed over a two year period, the film shows how each human being lives and dies as an individual, with deep personal needs and attitudes. It will sensitize health care professionals and counselors to the human factors that mitigate the anguish of both the patients and those who care for them. Purchase: $295. Rental: $75. (Filmakers Library)
  • The Dying Patient -- Treating Pain (28 minutes) What are the ethical issues involved when a terminally ill patient, experiencing uncontrollable pain, may be killed by the amount of drug needed to relieve suffering? In this provocative video, the committee discusses a hypothetical case in which a doctor faces such a dilemma. Purchase: $150. (Fanlight Productions)
  • The Dying Person (30 minutes) This video introduces three women, each diagnosed with a different form of cancer, who handle their situations in distinct ways.  It considers North American cultural perspectives on death, particularly regarding palliative care and how family relationships change under the pressure of the diagnosis.  Purchase: $89 (Insight Media)
  • Dying Wish (1989, 52 minutes, color) This hard-hitting program looks at some difficult issues: whether to keep a brain-dead patient’s heart beating with machines or take extraordinary measures to resuscitate a seriously ill patient? Whether health professionals can assist death, or fail to prevent it? What about the cost of keeping incurable patients alive while others die because they lack access to the procedures that would cure them? Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences or Penn State Audio Visual Services)
  • Dying with Dignity: The Sun City Choice (15 minutes, color) In this program, NewsHour correspondent Susan Dentzer reports on live and death in Sun City, Arizona, a vibrant retirement community where hospice is the preferred form of end-of-life care. Dartmouth Medical School’s John Wennberg and others consider the desire of many senior citizens with terminal illnesses to make peace with death rather than fight it. They also conform the fact that statistics show no direct correlation between costly ICU interventions and patient longevity. As America’s elderly population doubles over the next 35 years, will more seniors opt for meeting the end in the Sun City way? Purchase: $69.95 (VHS) or $94.95 (DVD) (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Elderly Suicide (28 minutes, color) When suicide is chosen as an alternative to chronic disease, pain, loss of mental and physical powers, economic stress and the prospect of dependence, it often leaves family members with feelings of guilt. This specially adapted Phil Donahue program addresses the emotional issue of elderly suicide. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Encounters With Grief (13 minutes) By KARA. A mother who has lost her teenaged son, a woman widowed in her sixties and a man whose wife died at fifty-two discuss the emotional upheaval that followed. They explore both the individuality and the commonality of grief and offer perspective on the process of recovery. Purchase: $145. Rental: $50 per day, or $100 per week. (Fanlight Productions)
  • End of Life: Patients Facing Death (48 minutes, color) All through medical school, internship and residency, doctors are trained to be healers. What can they contribute to the care of patients whose illnesses are beyond their help? This ABC News program examines the crusading efforts of oncologist  Michael Carducci, of Johns Hopkins Medicine, to create an exemplary program of palliative care for people with terminal conditions. The importance of supporting patients and their families in the making of sound end-of-life decisions is stressed. Purchase: $149.95 (VHS) or $174.95 (DVD) Rental: $75 (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Ernie and Rose (29 minutes) This dramatized film shows us a friendship between two irascible old men, one black and one white. Army buddies years ago, they now look after each other with unsentimental affection. The dilemma set forth in the film is "what will happen if one of them dies before the other?" The surprise ending will raise several ethical questions for discussion. Purchase: $89. Rental: $40. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Euthanasia (44 minutes) Advances in modern technology have made it possible to postpone and control death and to sustain life almost indefinitely. This has raised a host of ethical questions that society must address. When does it become morally legitimate to pull the plug? Should a patient be guided to an easy death? What are the legal, moral and ethical implications of euthanasia? This film examines these critical issues. It invites arguments from both sides of the debate. Part of the film was shot in Holland, the only country to openly permit euthanasia at the patient’s request. One learns first hand how this policy is affecting doctors, their patients and the general public. An important film in any classroom or discussion of the “right to die” issue. Purchase: $295. Rental: $65. (Filmakers Library)
  • Facing Death (56 minutes, subtitled) For more than twenty years, Lars Westman has been filming his mother. The result is a unique record of life’s inevitable passage, as well as a tender portrait of an aging mother who lived to a ripe old age in her own home, until complications from a hip injury necessitated her move to a nursing home. When she succumbed to her final illness, her son was at her bedside to record her last breath. Their strong affection helps the film transcend grim reality. Purchase: $295. Rental: $75. (Filmakers Library)
  • Facing Death (24 minutes) This video helps caregivers overcome their fear of death and become more comfortable working with dying patients.  Five hospice workers share their personal experiences and insights and look at caregiver anxieties, understanding patients’ needs and establishing trust.  Purchase: $199 (Insight Media)
  • Facing Death Video Series (4 videos)
    • Facing Death: Providing Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Comfort to Loved Ones (1997,33 minutes) This program is designed to help terminally ill patients and their caregivers “know what to expect” and how to comfort eachother physically, emotionally and spiritually. Grades 9-Adult. Purchase: $59.95.
    • Facing Death: Practical Planning and Legal Issues (1997, 17 minutes) This video offers an exceptional nurse/attorney who explains the various legal instruments which can help patients, their caregivers, & medical providers. Also covered are: Organ Donation, Bills and Insurance and a Hospice spiritual director discusses funeral planning. Grades 8-Adult. Purchase: $44.95
    • Facing Death: Understanding End-Of-Life patient Needs (1999, 15 minutes) End-of-life patients, caregivers, hospice and medical professionals focus on a range of intense concerns and emotions, including: Honesty, Denial, Anger, Hope and Miracles (including small ones),Making preparations and Seeking the important. Grades 8-Adult. Purchase: $59.95.
    • Facing Death: The Gift of Being There (1999,13 minutes) Patients, hospice professionals and caregivers explain how important it is to the patient for friends and family to “just be there.” This program covers: Ways of Being There, Being There with Grace, Being there for the comatose patient and Being There: A Family Issue. Grades 8-Adult. Purchase: $59.95 Entire Series Purchase: $185.00. (NIMCO)
  • Facing Mortality (30 minutes) This video presents case studies and personal stories of people facing death or dealing with the death of a loved one. It stresses the necessity of a psychological acceptance of mortality and differentiates among the emotional ramifications of death by violence, suicide, disease and age. Purchase: $89 (Insight Media)
  • The Fall of Freddie the Leaf (16 minutes) Leo Buscaglia's story about the cycle of life and death is given visual expression in this gracefully shot film. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a gentle, beautifully told natural metaphor blending childhood and adult perceptions of life. It is dedicated to all who have ever suffered a permanent loss and cannot find a way to explain it. Purchase: $159. Rental: $35. (Terra Nova Films)
  • A Fate Worse Than Death (50 minutes) By Lori Hope, King Broadcasting Company. This engrossing documentary follows several families who must decide whether to withdraw artificial life support from a loved one in a coma or vegetative state. Relatives, doctors, nurses, attorneys and ethicists comment on the complex moral and legal dilemmas such tragedies pose for families, for health providers and for society as a whole. The video also includes a valuable discussion of living wills and durable powers of attorney as means of letting families and caregivers know what each of us would want done. Purchase: $245. Rental: $50 per day, or $100 per week. (Fanlight Productions)
  • A Fate Worse Than Death? (58 minutes) This program vividly communicates the pain and sacrifice that families endure as a result of medicine’s ability to sustain life.  Following several families through the process of deciding whether to withhold or to withdraw life support, the program examines the controversial issue of euthanasia.  Nurses, doctors, ethicist and attorney provide insights into these complex ethical, moral and legal dilemmas.  Purchase: $179 (Insight Media)
  • A Friend Called Lyle (30 minutes) This 30 minute documentary portrays the spirited and courageous struggle of Lyle Matthews, who, at the age of 39, was diagnosed as having breast cancer. During her last months, Lyle shared with filmmaker Bob Markee her fear, anger, frustration and insight. This powerful, heartfelt video addresses the process of surrendering into death and explores the possibilities of conscious dying. Purchase: $145. Rental: $45. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Grief in America (55 minutes) This new video takes an honest and comprehensive look at how our culture deals with loss in all its forms. Interviews with a number of nationally recognized authorities on the grieving process examine, among other things, some common myths about grieving, the importance of social supports, the impact of ethnic traditions regarding grief and the social costs of unresolved grieving. The documentary also includes the moving stories of seven individuals who have experienced losses both from anticipated causes such as progressive disease, as well as from unexpected causes including heart attack, murder and suicide. Purchase: $245. (Fanlight Productions)
  • Grief: The Courageous Journey (25 minutes each) This nine-part series offers insight into grief as the catalyst for a healing process. Hosted by grief counselor Gordon Lang, the programs follow his patients as they recognize, accept and heal from their personal experiences of loss. The series is a moving portrait that illustrates not only the pain, confusion, disbelief, anger, guilt and powerlessness that loss brings, but the restorative power of grief:
    • o Understanding Grief This program introduces grief and its many possible effects. The series host, Gordon Lang, explains his counseling strategy and discusses the many forms that grief takes: anger, fear, powerlessness, guilt and exhaustion, to name only a few.
    • Loss of a Family Terry lost his family once through divorce. But when his ex-wife suddenly died, he lost them again. Because of the distance from his children, he was excluded from their grieving process and family support. This program highlights the necessity of family support and the depression that can result from isolation.
    • Loss of a Relationship  The breakup of a relationship can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and failure. After 22 years of marriage, Jean found herself alone, contemplating suicide. She speaks of the process of grief, of accepting her loneliness and of her new life and how she healed her wounds.
    • Loss of a Job Losing a job is usually considered tragic, but what about when the job consumed your entire life, to the detriment of your health, family and friends? Meet Peter as he is force dot reconsider his values and comes to see his losses as gains.
    • Loss of a Daughter Heather’s teenage daughter, Angie, was murdered five years ago and the case remains unsolved. Heather must cope not only with the loss of her daughter, but with the knowledge that the killer is still at large and that she has been denied the consolation of justice.
    • Loss of a Son The loss of a child is always difficult to accept, but when your child commits suicide, the grief can become compounded by guilt. Meet Deanna, whose son Tim committed suicide at the age of 22. Eleven years later, she still grieves over his death and wonders what she could have done to prevent it.
    • Loss of a Spouse Don and Joan were happily married. When Joan was diagnosed with terminal illness, they prepared for her death together. Although Don still feels the absence of Joan and mourns for her, he finds consolation in continuing his life and raising their son.
    • Facing Death In this episode, Gordon Lang confronts his own mortality when he is diagnosed with cancer. Gordon discusses his emotions, hopes and fears, as he contemplates his own life’s journey and its imminent conclusion.
    • Portraits of Grief This program is a collection of deeply personal interviews and relates them to the different stages of the grieving process: disbelief, sadness, loneliness, depression, fear, anger, guilt and exhaustion. The viewer also sees how grief is a process that can lead to understanding and acceptance. Purchase: $89.95, Entire Series Purchase: $699 (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Grieving: Suddenly Alone (1982, 26 minutes, color) Illustrates the pattern of loss, grief and recovery by presenting a dramatized story of a widow who experiences typical reactions of shock, denial, guilt, anger, depression and acceptance after her husband dies. Emphasizes the grief-stricken person’s need for supportive, understanding family and friends. A second source is: Purchase: $295. Rental: $55. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Growing Old in a New Age: 11 - Dying, Death and Bereavement (1993, 60 minutes, color) Discusses the services older people need to deal with dying and death. Elders express their views on widowhood and grief management; experts examine ethical dilemmas posed by terminal illness. (Penn State Audio Visual Services)
  • Harriett’s People (22 minutes) Meet nurses, nursing assistants and a physician who team together to provide the best possible care during the final months and days to residents in a nursing home. Harriett’s people, responding to advance directives, treatment limitations and the wishes and emotions of patients and families, provide a world of giving to residents who are coping with inevitable endings. Tears, hugs, holding hands, staff supporting staff—all contribute to care in the final days. Purchase: $300. Rental: $100. (VideoPress)
  • The Health Quarterly: Choosing Death (1993, 117 minutes, color) Explores the complexities and dilemmas of euthanasia through the personal accounts of physicians, patients and families in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been openly practiced for twenty years. The program is interspersed with a studio discussion relating Dutch experience to the euthanasia debate in the United States. Correspondent: Roger Mudd. Produced for PBS’s Frontline series. (Penn State Audio Visual Services)
  • Heaven Can Wait (40 minutes) Everyone would like to live forever, but until now the idea of greatly expanding the length of human life has been relegated to science fiction. This program examines the possibility and consequences of seriously expanding one’s life span with the help of new designer drugs and emerging genetic engineering techniques. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Help Me Die (48 minutes) By Lori Hope, King Broadcasting Company. Exploring the bitterly controversial subject of euthanasia, this video probes the ethical issues involved when loved ones, who are terminally ill, ask a physician or family member for assistance in ending their life. It profiles individuals who want to end their pain through suicide, as well as others who seek pain relief through medication - or through hospice programs which will permit them to die with dignity. This documentary invites us all to examine more closely our conceptions of personal rights and responsibilities. Purchase: $195. Rental: $50 per day, or $100 per week. (Fanlight Productions)
  • Hope Is The Thing With Feathers (28 minutes) This contemplative film examines issues of caregiving for a dying partner and the anticipation of one’s own death.  It looks at illness and bereavement as possibilities for creative expression and for emotional and spiritual transformation.  Through his powerful poetry, paintings and testimony, Beau Riley draws a portrait of grief and healing between two people, each disabled in his own way: David, born a paraplegic; and Beau, a recovering alcoholic.  The film is less a tragic story than a triumphant tribute to living life fully – with mindfulness, compassion and creativity – suggesting what can help heal great loss and transcend even death.  Purchase: $89.  Rental: $75 (New Day Films)
  • Hospice: An Alternative Way to Care for the Dying (1979, 25 minutes, color) Documents the hospice movement, a specialized health care program for the terminally ill and their families. Emphasizes human caring for the patient and family, preferably in the home environment and the object of hospice care. Shows professionals at work with patients in the physical control of pain and other symptoms and providing psychological, social and spiritual guidance to them and their family unit. (Penn State Audio Visual Services)
  • How to Say Good-bye It is very important for us to prepare for the final stage of life, as it is something that will happen to all of us, our family members and our friends. Life is perhaps best seen as an ongoing process. Although it is impossible to know when life will end, the end becomes nearer as individuals grow older. Caring for older individuals, family, friends and caregivers need to realize that the distance to the end is unpredictable and must prepare to accept the process of dying. An illness or decline may or may not result in death. Death may be sudden or gradual. Understanding this, caregivers for older individuals must respect the process of life and its ultimate end. Every institution and every health care professional working with elderly individuals will find this series extremely helpful. Often staff are not available or not trained to help family members with the final stages of the life of a relative. This film will help both family members and staff. Tapes can be used to facilitate discussion or as stand-alone educational materials.
    • Being an Adult Child (20 minutes) As people become involved with a parent in the final stage of life, this may be a first-time experience with death. Although it is extremely difficult to say good-bye to a family member, there are certain things that can be done to make this emotional time a positive time to share love. Join Debra Wertheimer, MD as she talks with two families, exploring practical matters and emotional and ethical issues associated with the final stage of life. Topics include: creating a good good-bye, recognizing the final stages of life, selecting a health professional sharing the “parent’s” philosophy on final care, knowing questions which need to be discussed with the physician and how to ask them, participating in the decision-making process, making advance directives, understanding when to say good-bye, exploring the options of long-term care and hospice, just spending beautiful time together, sharing family news, remembering special times, expressing thanks, changing stress to positive motions, recognizing the need for spiritual well-being and accepting “it’s OK to be sad.”
    • Being a Professional Caregiver (20 minutes) Professional caregivers are people too. Caring for the elderly and terminally ill has many emotional demands. In this program, nursing staff share their experiences with Debra Wertheimer, MD. Topics include: accepting families’ decisions on treatment or treatment limitations; knowing how to talk to a person who is terminally ill; knowing how to facilitate conversation between the patient and patient’s family; sharing family concerns with the health care team; minimizing family stress; helping friends and roommates understand; dealing with emotional issues of saying good-bye; and finding support at work.
    • Saying Good-bye (20 minutes) In this program, Wertheimer discusses with a family several actual situations. Each situation shows the complexity and magnitude of making plans and decisions during the final stages of life. The discussion explores what questions the family should ask and what alternatives exist. Decisions are examined. Does the family have enough information to make decisions? Are decisions made in partnership with the dying person whenever possible? Are decisions sometimes made because family members do not know how to say good-bye? In conclusion,  Wertheimer helps the family identify ways in which they can contribute to a good ending, helping them to learn to say good-bye. Purchase: $200 each or $500 for the set. Rental: $100 each. (VideoPress)
  • Important Discussions Toward the End of Life: A Conversation with Father Time (49 minutes) In this program, Lorraine Hedtke addresses the identity struggles of individuals facing the end of their lives and provides new ways to think about death and the power of a life-affirming legacy. Purchase: $189 (Insight Media)
  • In Their Own Words: Widowhood and Integrity vs. Despair (1987, 60 minutes) Explaining the late adulthood period of “integrity vs. despair,” the last stage of Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Life, this video examines the trauma of losing a spouse. It features the commentary of widows and widowers who describe their feelings, reactions and strategies for adjustment and stresses the importance of a strong network of friends and family.  Purchase: $139. (Insight Media)
  • In Your Hands: The Tools for Preserving Personal Autonomy (19 minutes) Helen Hayes died at the age of 93. On her own terms. Peacefully, in her own home, with no tubes or machines attached, but with loved ones surrounding her. All made possible because she planned ahead. Before she died, Miss Hayes talked about why planning ahead is so important. In this video, she describes the frequently misunderstood instruments of durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, living wills and trusts. Miss Hayes blends personal anecdotes with those of a group of real people to show how Americans from a broad range of backgrounds can preserve personal autonomy as they grow older. But what makes this video so poignant is a brief but powerful epilogue in which the actor James MacArthur, Miss Hayes’ son, relates how his mother carefully specified her own plans for mental or physical incapacity before she died. This video comes with a 25-page Program Guide that leads you through planning and conducting a program with the video as the highlight. There is a sample script to help explain nine legal tools for decision-making and property management. There is a 12-page Viewer’s Pamphlet called “Health and Financial Decisions,” a guide to the same legal tools covered in the video. Purchase: $119. Rental: $40. (Terra Nova Films or Penn State Audio Visual Services)
  • Inner Views of Grief (30 minutes) In this compelling video, five young adults, from ages 14 to 26, discuss their reactions to the sudden, sometimes violent death of a parent, sibling, or friend. These insightful young women and men talk about what helped them at the time of death, how family relationships changed, how they have coped with their feelings and the ways they have commemorated the deceased. This will be an excellent teaching tool for mental health professionals, teachers, school crisis teams, hospice workers, clergy, funeral directors, parents and bereaved individuals of all ages. Study guide included. Purchase: $195. (Fanlight Productions)
  • Last Spring: Stories of Hospice (46 minutes, color) Although revolutionary improvements in medicine constantly fuel hopes for cures, there are times when life simply cannot be prolonged. Enter hospice: end-of-life care designed to provide pain and symptom relief for the patient and support for both the patient and family. This program features case studies of people who have decided to take the hospice approach to their final weeks of life, in order to take control of the dying process and to gain a peaceful sense of closure. A Discovery Channel Production. Purchase: $129 Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Late Adulthood: Death, Dying, Bereavement and Widowhood (29 minutes) Offering sociocultural and multicultural perspectives on dying and bereavement, this video uses the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to address the discussion of death. It then traces the process of bereavement, examining its various aspects and considers the state of widowhood, revealing how it differs for men and women. Purchase: $139 (Insight Media) OR Purchase: $89.95 (Magna Systems)
  • Late Adulthood: Concepts And Issues The human lifecycle can be approached from different points of view –both personal experiences and collective analysis are useful tools for understanding the human animal. The “Concepts And Issues” series examines the stages of late adulthood from a personal perspective. In each, seniors share their own experiences with the viewer. Each of these programs has a corresponding “In Their Own Words” program (see below). Purchase Series: $225 (Magna Systems)—see General Aging section for rest of series
    • Death & Dying (29 minutes) The final video in this series necessarily focuses on the end of late adulthood, which for human beings is death. Dying and bereavement are experienced very differently in different cultures. This sociocultural context of dying is explored in depth from a variety of perspectives. The pioneer in the discussion of death in our culture is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Her seminal work is present as a way of conceptualizing the dying process. Bereavement is also a process and its various aspects are examined as well. Finally, widowhood, a state that will be experienced by half of all married people, is presented focusing on the differences in adjustment to widowhood that exists for men and for women. Purchase: $89.00-VHS or DVD (Magna Systems)
  • Late Adulthood: In Their Own Words The human lifecycle can be approached from different points of view –both personal experiences and collective analysis are useful tools for understanding the human animal. The “In Their Own Words” series examines the stages of late adulthood from a personal perspective. In each, seniors share their own experiences with the viewer. Each of these programs has a corresponding “Concepts and Issues” program. Purchase Series: $225 (Magna Systems)
    • Integrity & Despair (29 minutes) In this moving program, widows and widowers discuss the traumatic experience of losing a spouse. They describe their feelings, their reactions and the ways they adjusted. These seniors share their life-altering experiences and the effects it had on them. The function of one’s social network of friends and family is also revealed. “Integrity vs. Despair” is Erik Erikson’s last of eight stages of man, the stage of late adulthood. In this second portion of the program, seniors reveal their integrity and despair, both in glaring fashion. Performing a life review and pondering how they might be remembered are two processes by which people try to achieve integrity. Purchase: $89.00-VHS or DVD (Magna Systems). Also available from $139. (Insight Media) –see General Aging section for rest of series
  • Letting Go: A Hospice Journey (90 minutes, color) For terminally ill patients and their families, hospice can provide an opportunity to find comfort, companionship and peace in the weeks, days, hours and moments before death. Taking an intimate look at three patients - an eight year old boy with an incurable brain disease, a 46 year old woman with lung cancer and a 62 year old man with an inoperable brain tumor - this program shows how hospice care helps them cope with fear and pain in the final stages of their lives and prepares loved ones for their imminent loss. In addition to extensive footage of the hospice patients and their families, the program sheds light on the decision-making process of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social worker and volunteers involved in the hospice. An HBO production. Purchase: $149. Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Liberty: 3 Stories about Life and Death (55 minutes)  Liberty is a highly acclaimed educational documentary about a close circle of lesbian friends.  The women in Liberty have been together for over thirty years; they’ve grown old together and now they face loss and death together.  These extraordinary works interweave the stories of three close lesbian friends: Joyce Fulton (66), who dies over the course of two years from a brain tumor; Mary Bell Wilson (79) who faces up to her losing struggle with lymphoma; and Nan Golub (58), a New York City artist, very much alive.   Liberty comes with a detailed discussion guide, designed to encourage viewers to see older women and older lesbians in a positive light.  Liberty demystifies death, dispels misinformation about age and sexual orientation and reminds us that life is worth living. Purchase: $90. Rental: $75. (New Day Films)
    • Part One: Death to Life records the death of Joyce Fulton.  In the opening scenes, we see her, wasted beyond speech, with a group of friends around her who are helping her out of this world.  Moving backwards in time, we then observe the process of Joyce’s terminal brain cancer over the course of two years.  In a sense, we see Joyce moving from sick to well, becoming the person she was on the day she celebrated retiring from teaching high school four years earlier.
    • Part Two: Life to Death is a reminiscence of Mary Bell Wilson, described by one of her friends as “a Katharine Hepburn type.”  She is a long time friend of Joyce Fulton and Joyce reappears several times in Life to Death.  Before Mary Bell dies she has high hopes of building a new home with her lover and partner of 25 years and of riding in Dykes on Bikes in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.  At 79, with indefatigable courage, she faces up to her own losing struggle with lymphoma.
    • Part Three: Life is about Nan Golub, a close friend of both Joyce and Mary Bell.  In New York, in winter, we see her living as an artist – a black-leather-jacketed, platinum-dyed city woman.  In one sequence she sketches a family tree of the women we’ve met earlier and suddenly we have a more vivid idea of who they were and what they’ve meant to each other.  Golub ties the three parts of the documentary together and reminds us that in spite of tragedy and death, life is worth living, even worth celebrating.
  • Life Support Decisions (50 minutes) This important video will help elders, their families and the professionals who work with them to understand their rights and options regarding life-support technologies and end-of-life care and decision-making. Its discussion of the many issues involved in preparing advance directives encourages everyone to consider these questions and to communicate their wishes to their loved ones and caregivers before becoming ill or hospitalized. Purchase: $145 (Fanlight Productions)
  • Living and Dying (30 minutes) This program focuses on the stages of adjustment to death as proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.  It discusses the benefits for the surviving family of having a will or advanced directive and looks at how culture and religion profoundly influence how people cope with their own mortality and how their families grieve.  The program also outlines the benefits of hospice care. Purchase: $129 – VHS (Insight Media)
  • Living Fully Until Death (29 minutes) Most people today die as a result of a chronic disease. Many will know the cause of their death for some time prior to dying, causing a great deal of stress and turmoil for both themselves and their families. This program from The Doctor Is In offers the inspirational tales of three people who find new meaning in life and the courage to deal with the challenge of living fully after learning they have a terminal illness. Featured in the program are the late Morrie Schwartz, a Brandeis University professor diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS); Shirley Waring, a mother of four adult children, who has leukemia; and William Meyer, who has lung cancer. Each has struggled in his or her own unique way to try to find personal control, to plan for the unknown and to find a place for spirituality. As Morrie Schwartz notes, “Learning to die is also learning how to live.” A Dartmouth-Hitchock Medical Center production. Purchase: $99.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • The Living Trust Video (55 minutes) This hour long video examines the four problem areas in estate planning--probate, estate tax, conservatorship and capital gains tax--and tells viewers how a revocable living trust will circumvent those problems. Tom McGrath, the presenter, livens up the video with interesting estate law tidbits. For example, Marilyn Monroe's estate was in probate for 18 years and Elvis Presley's estate, worth over 10 million, forked over 7 million in probate. Purchase: $69. Rental: $35. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Living Wills (30 minutes, color) This program examines the concept of living wills and advanced directives. Host Jamie Guth spends time with families in intensive care units, where they are forced to make decisions about life-saving care. Their experiences may serve as a guide to viewers who may want to decide before the event whether they wish to be maintained on ventilators, fluids and drugs. Patients, their families and doctors also present their views of the situation. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Living Wills (28 minutes) Patients, families and physicians explore a range of issues involved in the preparation of Advance Directives (living wills, durable powers of attorney and healthcare proxies or agents). Visiting families in intensive care units, who must make immediate decisions about lifesaving care, the video urges viewers to think about their values and wishes before becoming ill or hospitalized. From The Doctor is In series, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Purchase: $149. Rental: $50 per day, or $100 per week. (Fanlight Productions)
  • A Matter of Life or Death: Withdrawing Life Support (20 minutes) Focusing on the bioethical decisions involved in terminal care, this program is an extract of “Who Lives, Who Dies?.” It asks whether a patient who is dying has a right to say, “I’d rather die now.”  David Finley, Director of Critical Care at New York’s Roosevelt Hospital, believes the patient’s wishes should be respected. He acknowledges, however, that it is difficult to prevent doctors, who are dedicated to saving lives, from taking heroic measures to extend them. This film not only addresses the bioethical issues as they relate to the individual patient, but to society as a whole. It questions whether the money spent to prolong the dying process should be redirected to patients who are currently denied basic care. Purchase: $195. Rental: $55. (Filmakers Library)
  • The Moral Implications of Scientific Advances: Leon R. Kass (53 minutes) Leon R. Kass joins body and soul uniquely as a physician and philosopher. Trained as a doctor, with a degree in biochemistry, he believes that scientific discoveries have raised questions which scientific reasoning can’t answer. In this program with Bill Moyers,  Kass, a professor at the University of Chicago, explores the moral implications of euthanasia and of medical advances in assisted reproduction. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • On Death and Dying (1974, 58 minutes, color)  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross discusses her experiences in helping the terminally ill face death without fear. She stresses the importance of communicating with them in a way that recognizes their feelings. Produced by NBC. (Penn State Audio Visual Services)
  • On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying in America In this acclaimed four-part series, veteran PBS journalist Bill Moyers reports on the growing movement in America to improve care for people who are dying. Using interviews and research from across the country, each program describes the intimate experiences of patients, families and caregivers as they struggle to infuse life’s ultimate rite of passage with compassion and comfort. This powerful series is available exclusively through Films for the Humanities and Sciences. Entire Series Purchase: $319.95 (VHS or DVD)
    • Living with Dying (90 minutes, color) Death, which sooner or later comes to all, is treated as a strangely taboo subject in America. In this program, Bill Moyers describes the search for new ways of thinking—and talking—about dying. Forgoing the usual reluctance that most Americans show toward speaking about death, patients and medical professionals alike come forward to examine the end of life with honesty, courage and even humor, demonstrating that dying can be an incredibly rich experience both for the terminally ill and their loved ones. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS or DVD).  (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
    • A Different Kind of Care (90 minutes, color) At the end of life, what many Americans want is physical and spiritual comfort in a home setting. In this program, Bill Moyers presents the important strides being made in the area of palliative care at pioneering institutions such as New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. These advances are bringing peace to those who fear that they will be a burden to their loved ones, will suffer needlessly, or will be abandoned in their hour of greatest need. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS or DVD). (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
    • A Death of One’s Own (90 minutes, color) More and more Americans are looking for opportunities to exert some measure of control over where and how they die. In this program, Bill Moyers unravels the complexities underlying the many choices at the end of life, including the bitter debate over physician-assisted suicide. Three patients, their families and their doctors discuss some of the hardest decisions, including how to pay for care, what constitutes humane treatment and how to balance dying and dignity. In the end, do these patients die the way they wanted? Yes…and no. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS or DVD). (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
    • A Time to Change (90 minutes, color) Whether they want to or not, four out of five Americans will likely die in hospitals or nursing homes and the care they get will depend on both who is providing it and who is footing the bill. In this program, Bill Moyers introduces crusading medical professionals—including staff members of the Balm of Gilead Project in Birmingham, Alabama-who have dedicated themselves to improving end-of-life care by changing America’s overburdened health system. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS or DVD) (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Palliative Care: Care for Terminally Ill Patients (30 minutes) This program looks at how palliative care assures the physical, emotional, social and spiritual comfort of dying patients and their families. It explains that the United States often does not formally prepare individuals to deal with death and dying on personal and emotional levels. Purchase: $199. (Insight Media)
  • The Physical Aspects of Death: The Death Knell of Old Age  (25 minutes, color)  Bob has come to the end of the road.  At the age of 87, his body can no longer mend itself.  This program tracks the final hours of Bob’s life as he quietly expires at home.  Spectacular 3-D computer animations of cellular damage by free radicals, optic degeneration, spinal nerve damage and brain failure; endoscopic imaging of degeneration of the heart, blood vessels, bronchi, ears and stomach lining; and thermal imaging of bodily heat loss illustrate the body’s inability to heal and renew itself.  A Discovery Channel Production.  Purchase: $129.95 –VHS or $154.95 – DVD  (Films for the Humanities & Sciences) OR Purchase: $159 (Insight Media)
  • The Pitch of Grief (30 minutes) By Eric Stange. Intimate interview with four bereaved men and women, both young and old, provide insight and hope, not only for the bereaved, but for family, friends and health care workers and for all of us who will someday face the loss of a loved one. Purchase: $195. Rental: $50 per day, or $100 per week. (Fanlight Productions)
  • Rational Suicide? (1981, 15 minutes, color) Examines the controversial option of suicide for rational, intelligent people afflicted with pain and incurable disease. Contrasts two viewpoints on the subject: One held by Derek Humphry, a British journalist now living in California, who abetted his wife dying of cancer by providing her with poison and the second held by Dame Cecily Saunders, a spokesperson for the hospice movement, who believes that the patient need not be killed to kill the pain. Correspondent: Mike Wallace. Produced by Barry Land for CBS’s “60 Minutes.” (Penn State Audio Visual Services)
  • Reflections on Suffering (20 minutes) In a moving conversation with her doctor, Jean Cameron, a cancer victim, discusses how she has come to terms with her terminal illness and the perspective it has given her on the meaning of life. Purchase: $145. Rental: $45. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Religion and Euthanasia (29 minutes) The highly controversial topic of euthanasia is examined in this program through the eyes of several medical and religious experts. Euthanasia as an acceptable practice is discussed within the context of current “right-to-die”cases, including the highly publicized assisted-suicide activities of Dr Jack Kevorkian. We see how individual rights issues often overshadow legal arguments. Efforts currently underway by religious groups to block the practice are examined. Overall, the program represents an excellent stating point for discussions about what role religion and morality should play in the euthanasia debate. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • The Right to Decide (43 minutes) The Patient Self-Determination Act challenges health workers to develop more effective ways to communicate with patients about their preferences. This video features a series of outstanding interviews in which physicians explore their patients’ hopes, fears and goals regarding end-of-live care and the use of life-supporting therapies. They offer healthcare professionals an invaluable model for discussions about advance directives. Discussion Guide included. Purchase: $145 (Fanlight Productions)
  • Rose and Zelda (20 minutes) Every day Zelda comes to visit her 90-year-old mother who moved into a nursing home when her health severely deteriorated The camera captures an extremely significant conversation in which Rose explains her wishes to limit treatment and accept dying as a natural end of life. She relates to her daughter many beautiful memories, wonderful experiences and the pleasures life has given her. For the daughter Zelda, the conversation becomes very emotional as she hears her mother talk about the acceptance of dying. Debra Wertheimer, MD, participates in the discussion, showing support and respect for her patient’s decisions. This program is an essential guide for caregivers and families of the elderly, enabling discussions of the emotional decisions that need to be made as the end of life approaches. Dedicated to the fine memory of Rose Hanenbaum. Purchase: $150. (VideoPress)
  • Saying Good-bye (26 minutes, color) In this program, host Jamie Guth talks to people who have had to deal with grief. She meets with a support group for widows, a woman whose parents died within a year of each other and a woman whose husband died of cancer and left her with a young child. Purchase: $ 89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • The Self-Made Man (64 minutes) Is it ever rational to choose death? On Independence Day at Stern Ranch in central California, 77-year-old solar energy pioneer Bob Stern finds out he is seriously ill – probably dying.  Meanwhile, an elderly in-law is slowly declining on artificial life support in a hospital.  Bob decides to cheat the fate and take his own life.  His family tries to stop him.  Bob sets up a video camera.  Daughter Susan Stern (BARBIE NATION) explores “rational suicide,” the “right-to-die” the difficult end-of-life choices faced by an aging population.  Purchase DVD: $250 (Community Media Production Group) Also available from New Day  Films $250 (VHS-58 minutes, DVD-63 minutes)
  • Softfire (1984, 32 minutes, color) An intimate portrait of an elderly widow nearing her death at home, where health-care professionals attend to her physical, emotional and psychological needs. Shows the dignity, courage and warmth of frail older persons when they are treated as sensitive human beings rather than as objects of “management care.” The caregivers reflect on the philosophy, motivation and concerns surrounding their work. Alternatively: Rental: $100. Purchase: $300. (Penn State Audio Visual Services or VideoPress)
  • The Street (10 minutes) This award-winning animated film is poignant interpretation of Mordecai Richler's short story about a grandmother dying at home. In soft simple washes of watercolor and ink, the filmmaker interprets the family's reactions and captures family feelings interactions during the course of her dying. Purchase: $145. Rental: $45. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Terminal Illness: When It Happens to You (50 minutes, color) This program profiles a terminally-ill patient, his courageous battle against cancer and the emotional toll his illness takes on his family. At the age of 46, Chris Brotherton was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given only a few months to live. This program follows the last six months of his life and shows how he, his wife and young son and the medical staff at a hospice deal with his illness. This is an open, deeply moving but unsentimental record of their thoughts and emotions. Purchase: $149. Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • A Time to Die: Who Decides? (33 minutes) Who decides how and when a terminally ill patient should be allowed to die? This deeply moving film focuses on three patients--a nine month old boy with a brain tumor, a young woman with Hodgkin's disease, an elderly woman with Alzheimer's Disease--and their families. The film raises important questions and stimulates discussion from ethical and legal points of view. Purchase: $285. Rental: $55. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Tired of Living, Feared of Dying (54 minutes) Dutch doctors are now legally able to accede to a patient’s request for medical help so that they can die with dignity and without pain when their sufferings have become unbearable. This remarkable film follows seven people who have registered a request for euthanasia when they judge the time to be right. Each patient talks about the reasons for choosing this way of death and tries to define the specific trigger which will cause him or her to decide when the time has come to ask the doctor for the lethal injection or drink. Members of their families add their own comments and five doctors with experience in the practice of euthanasia speak eloquently about the ethical questions and the practical problems which euthanasia poses for them. By the end of the film, several of the subjects had died without expressing apprehension or regret about their decision. Purchase: $295. Rental: $75. (Filmakers Library)
  • To Choose No Harm: Ethical Decision-Making at the End of Life (45 minutes) By Fred Simon, with the Newton Television Foundation. The situations that health care workers confront when caring for dying patients can present the most ethically challenging problems they will ever face. Yet these complex, intertwined and frequently "messy" realities of day-to-day decision-making are often overshadowed in media debates over "assisted suicide." This powerful new documentary allows us to be present at meetings in which two different health care teams must resolve conflicts between the wishes of their patients and the patients' families and their own beliefs and clinical judgements. The situation of a young man with AIDS raises compelling issues about futility of care, as well as conflicts between patient autonomy and responsibility to others. In the case of an elderly woman with terminal cancer, the staff confront disagreements between the patient and her husband of her wish to decline CPR and return home. The situation is further complicated when her insurance company refuses to pay for additional hospitalization. Each case is discussed by a panel of caregivers, administrators and ethicists. An invaluable resource for discussions of nursing, medicine, ethics and healthcare policy. Purchase: $195. (Fanlight Productions)
  • Toward a Better Death (28 minutes) This informative program explores the choices open to terminally ill patients and their families, presenting the options available for end-of-life care that attends to physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Medical experts and caregivers discuss the difficult choices that arise, including the moral and legal controversies and medical options available when a cure is no longer an option. Important information about living will and health care proxies is also provided. Purchase: $129. Rental: $75. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
  • Understanding Advance Directives for Residents and Patients (20 minutes) Explains in easy-to-understand terms the advance directives options available to residents in long term care facilities. Purchase: $95.95. (Terra Nova Films)
  • Understanding Death and Dying (53 minutes) This important training video will educate staff in the psychosocial aspects of end-of-life issues, including-Death exercises, Stages of dying, Problems associated with a terminal illness, How we can help the dying, Advance Directives, Bereavement, Funerals, The Good Endings Program, Music for the dying, Care for the caregivers.  This video kit also includes an Instructor's packet of handouts as well as topics of discussion. This video inservice was filmed during a healthcare professional conference and features Donalyn Gross, Ph.D., LCSW, CMP. Price $300 including s/h (Good Endings)
  • The Vanishing Line (52 minutes, color) When does life become a fate worse than death? In this age of medical ‘miracles,’ an increasing number of doctors, patients and their families are forced to deal with this troubling, complex and universal question. The Vanishing Line, a contemplative, personal film by physician/filmmaker Maren Monsen, explores the timeless implications of this modern dilemma. Monsen takes viewers on a lyrical and heartfelt quest to discover an ‘art of dying’ in a world that taught her how to prolong life, but offered few prescriptions for coping with death. Combining poetic imagery, clear-eyed documentary footage and soul-searching commentary, Monsen evokes a provocative vocabulary for her exploration of death. Dramatic action sequences of emergency care are woven with rich tapestry of images that includes three women in Greek tunics spinning the thread of life, a potent visual reminder that no matter how advanced medical technology becomes, life and death remain essentially beyond our control. The Vanishing Line chronicles one physician’s exploration of how to try and meet the needs of the dying and their families and looks at the choices and concerns involved in treating the dying with the right balance of technology, compassion and care. Purchase: $225 Rental: $75 (First Run/Icarus Films)
  • The Way We Die (25 minutes, color) Through interviews with doctors, patients and family members and through intimate and movingly filmed interactions between medical personnel and their terminally ill patients, this video encourages health professionals to work with their needs and values and to attend to the larger issue of what illness means for a particular patient and family. This is a valuable tool for continuing education programs and for schools of nursing, medicine and allied health. Purchase: $195 (Fanlight Productions)
  • What is Death? (30 minutes) Using case studies and personal stories, this video examines the nature of death.  It presents a wide range of North American cultural perspectives and considers AIDS, death by violence, suicide and euthanasia.  Purchase: $99 (Insight Media)
  • Widowhood and Integrity vs. Despair (29 minutes) Explaining the late adulthood period of “integrity vs. despair,” the last stage of Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Life, this video examines the trauma of losing a spouse.  It features the commentary of widows and widowers who describe their feelings, reactions and strategies for adjustment and stresses the importance of a strong social network of friends and family.  Purchase: $139 (Insight Media), $89.95-VHS or DVD (Magna Systems)
  • With Eyes Open: Coping With Death This four-part series, hosted by NewsHour’s Ray Suarez, invites viewers to look at death with their eyes open to the end, so that they many more fully live in the natural light of the inevitability of dying. Topics such as grief, medical decision-making, caregiving and life after death are discussed in intimate groups. Simple exercises to assist in the healing process are included.
    • Grief and Healing (30 minutes, color) The news of a loved one’s impending death is often accompanied by an initial reaction of fear. In this program, introduced by Newshour’s Ray Suarez and facilitated by Frank Ostaseski, founder of San Francisco’s Zen Hospice Project, seven everyday people reflect on their experiences with loss, grief and healing. Discussing what they fear, how they would say good-bye and other deeply personal topics, some discover the transformation and healing that may occur in such moments. The program concludes with a simple exercise in which participants write a final message to their loved ones, toss the paper into a fire and watch the ashes rise into the darkness. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS) or $114.95 (DVD) (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
    • Difficult Decisions: When a Loved One Approaches Death (30 minutes, color) When a loved one’s fate lies on another’s hands, the decisions can be overwhelming. This program follows two families as they grapple with life-and-death decisions inside an ICU. A doctor and ethicist and others help these families through the process of making decisions on behalf of those who are no longer able to communicate their wishes. La Vera Crawley, of Stanford University’s bioethics department, helps families better understand the difficult decisions they are about to make. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS) or $114.95 (DVD) (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
    • Caregiving (30 minutes, color) Every day, 25 million Americans provide care for loved ones. This program looks at the rich rewards and wisdom that often attend such care, as well as at the hard work that home healthcare entails. Drawing on the direct experience of family members and others, including author Beth Witrogen McLeod—whose book Caregiving, the Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize—the program also offers caregiving advice and information that is both practical and profound. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS) or $114.95 (DVD) (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
    • Beyond Life and Death (30 minutes, color) What happens after bodily death? This program explores how beliefs about an afterlife affect the way people live their lives and approach death. In a lively, insightful dialogue, Tibetan Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman and teacher/author Rabbi David Wolpe discuss the concepts of heaven and reincarnation while presenting their different views of what they believe might lie beyond the mortal veil. Purchase: $89.95 (VHS) or $114.95 (DVD) (Films for the Humanities & Sciences) Entire Series Purchase: $299