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photo The Journey Home
Stories from Hospice
By Nancy Green
KUED, University of Utah
Narrated by Susan Stamberg

Life sustained in the face of death, relief from pain and suffering, hope in the midst of despair — these are the gifts that hospice workers across the nation offer to over 500,000 terminally ill patients each year. At the same time that modern medical technology is extending our lives, it may also be making our deaths more lonely, frightening and sterile. Through the candid stories of five hospice patients and their families, this new video presents an alternative: a way that patients can take control over where and how they will die, surrounded by loved ones, in comfort and dignity, and in a familiar environment.

Cary Jones, an artist, wife and mother, describes the spiritual and emotional journey which enables her to face the end of her life with grace. Joe Torman, an outdoor enthusiast, maintains his independence despite his terminal liver disease. Steve Warren, a hospice doctor himself, experiences a new perspective as he watches his mother in the final stages of multiple sclerosis. Jeanette Rydalch, struggles with burnout and the financial strains of caring for her husband who has an untreatable brain tumor. Karen Cook, an ovarian cancer patient, must come to terms with the effect of her illness on her husband and two young children.

The Journey Home weaves together the striking personal narratives of the patients and their families with intimate, in-depth footage of their interactions with sensitive, caring hospice teams including physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains.

57 minutes
© 2002
Purchase $229 DVD
Order No. QA-360
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-867-7
close captioned

"This is a strong film for a society that avoids talking about, thinking about, or dealing with death. It is a reminder that death is inevitable for all of us, but that there are options available that are different and more holistic than the hospital. This film is a good discussion starter, and is well documented and filmed." Educational Media Reviews

Awards & Conference Screenings
Worldfest Houston

Related Films
Common Heroes: Follows the nurses, physicians, social workers and clergy who make up the hospice team, and demonstrates the ways they collaborate to help patients and families.

Self Deliverance: This unflinching portrait was filmed in Australia's Northern Territory, where Parliament was debating the world's first legislation guaranteeing terminally ill people the right to a physician-assisted death. It includes articulate testimony from physicians on both sides of this controversial issue, but its primary focus is on one courageous man's determination to confront death in his own way.

Caring at the End of Life: Based on six case studies of seriously ill hospitalized patients, this moving film focuses on the key roles of nursing staff in improving patient-clinician communication in end-of-life care.

Stanley: This disturbing case study raises complex issues about medical prognosis and religious belief in end-of-life decision-making. Part of the Caring at the End of Life series.

Discussing Advance Directives: A nursing team and physician meet to discuss the difficulties they encounter in working with patients on advance directives. Part of the Caring at the End of Life series.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website