“By explaining the hospice alternative to the more common hospital death, the authors ask us to consider our own deaths and how we will go about making decisions when end of life is not just inevitable but imminent. They propose that hospice offers choice, freedom from pain and suffering, and perhaps even joy during those last days.”

Library Journal (Starred Review)

“should be required reading for physicians, nurses, and anyone else — professional or volunteer — who provides care to those who are dying…Superb writing makes [the book] an easy read, even though the subject matter is anything but easy.”

— Nancy Walker, Foreword Reviews. Read the full piece here.

“A refreshingly honest, candid, and comprehensive account of the hospice movement. Changing the Way We Die demonstrates that people who are dying are still living; that changing the way we die could ultimately also change the way we live; and that the compassionate care provided at the end of life could serve as a model of care for the living. This book has relevance for all of us.”

—David Kuhl, author of What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom for the End of Life

“Hospice is not a place but a philosophy about living, dying, and dignity… (It) offers the best hope for dying well and living fully until we do.” Changing the Way We Die takes us to the birth of the movement, the Irish Sisters of Charity who set up the first British hospice in 1879. Today hospices seem to be everywhere, part of a growing fourteen billion dollar a year industry. For the 8000 baby boomers turning sixty-five every day, end of life care, comfort and dignity are subjects they care about and are not shy to address. With abundant personal stories, information and discussion, Smith and Himmel present a sweeping look at what hospice means to patients, caregivers, communities, and to the changing face of health care in our nation."

—Light of Consciousness magazine

“Changing the Way We Die had me from the introduction and I was riveted to the last page. The book is thoroughly researched and documented. It is accurate and detailed. What lies upon its pages so needs to be said, examined, and hopefully addressed. I highly recommend this read for anyone directly or indirectly involved with end-of-life issues. I guess that means everyone since all of us have to deal with the end of life sometime, for ourselves or those we care about.”

—Barbara Karnes, RN, author of Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience

“There is nothing to be afraid of, within the pages of Changing the Way We Die, but there is a great deal to be learned. If you invest a few hours in reading this book, it will help you avoid months of suffering for people you love in the days to come.”

—Stephen P. Kiernan, author of Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life From the Medical System

“Hospice is one of the truly humane innovations in our culture, and Changing the Way We Die not only shows why, it also demonstrates the importance of treating death as part of the great mystery and privilege of being alive.”

—Sue Halpern, author of A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home

“As a former hospice volunteer, I am thrilled to recommend Changing the Way We Die. Finally there’s a spotlight on a crucial conversation that has the potential to reduce the suffering of millions of people at the end of life. A must read for anyone with elderly parents as well as those who want to be choiceful about their own lives.”

—M.J. Ryan, author of Attitudes of Gratitude and The Power of Patience

“This beautiful book opens the lid on one of the most important treasures in our lives — how we can change the way we die. The book reminds us that we often can choose to enter the embrace of hospice, with its roots in compassionate care. I am grateful to the authors of this inspiring book.”

—Joan Halifax, PhD, author of Being With Dying and founder of Upaya Zen Center

“For an experience that is universal, the act of dying remains one of the least discussed aspects of American life. Changing the Way We Die is a welcome addition to a growing body of work that documents the benefits of hospice care. Inspired by the very different deaths of their fathers, journalists Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel embarked on an investigation of what is now a $14 billion industry, interviewing patients, survivors and providers, and asking those at the doorstep of death: What do you want to do with the rest of your life? For even the frailest and sickest, there are choices. Enhancing the quality of life that remains is the principle of hospice, and this book is a valuable contribution toward the authors’ goal of lifting hospice out of the shadows.”

—Eleanor Clift, author of Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics

“A wonderful book, full of captivating stories of peoples’ lives. Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel tell the marvelous story of the history of hospice and rightly raise concerns about its destiny. As a clinician with almost 30 years of hospice and palliative care involvement, I urge readers to dig in, appreciate the writing, and learn from the lessons shared here.”

—Perry G. Fine, MD, author of The Hospice Companion

Changing the Way We Die honors patients, their families, cultures, and values. Most of all, this book celebrates the end-of-life dignity to which every person is entitled. I highly recommend this enlightening resource that adds significant layers of practical knowledge to death journeys everyone will experience.”

—Frances Shani Parker, author of Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes

“Starting with their own fathers’ deaths, one with hospice and one without, the authors make it clear that dying is usually messy, ambiguous and difficult. But that’s our birthright. They also show the ways that hospice can make the final chapter a time of poignant and meaningful farewells and wrap-ups. They emphasize hospice as a way to live—not a failure but an inevitable passage—once we “acknowledge that dying is not ‘if’ but ‘when.’” Finally, they delve into the unfortunate current complexities of profit-driven hospice companies and government crackdowns on hospice profiteering—both of which make it harder for the terminally ill to get the right help at the right time. But armed with the information in this book, readers may be better equipped to make choices that could allow the richness of living at the end of life that hospice at its best can help to facilitate.”

—Larry Beresford, author of The Hospice Handbook