Links & Books


End-of-Life Planning

Caring Connections
This project of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is a national consumer engagement initiative to improve care at the end of life. Online you'll find extensive materials about advance care planning (including links to download your state's advance directives forms) and caregiving, pain, hospice and grief. Along with their website they also offer a free helpline at

AARP: End of Life
AARP's homepage for end-of-life issues provides resources on financial and medical planning.

Growth House
This site is a portal to reviewed resources on life-threatening illnesses and end-of-life care. Relevant areas include "death with dignity," "eldercare" and "suicide."

The Hospice website is for patients and families facing life-threatening illnesses. They offer resources for both patients and caregivers. Their "Hard Choices for Loving People" article, written for those making medical decisions on behalf of loved ones, is of note.

Compassion and Choices
Compassion and Choices is the oldest choice-in-dying organization in the country. Through their Client Support Services (accessible online or through 800-247-7421), they provide support and counsel, local referrals, assistance with legal planning and advocacy. Their glossary of complex medical terms and procedures is particularly useful.

National Center on Caregiving: End-of-Life Decision-Making
This clearly laid-out factsheet is a good introduction to planning for end-of-life care.

Caring Conversations
These workbooks from the Center for Practical Bioethics help you approach difficult conversations with loved ones on end-of-life planning.

5 Wishes
From Aging with Dignity, an accessible workbook that helps you document your wishes. 5 Wishes meets legal requirements under the advance directive statutes in all but 13 states.

The Right to Die Debate

Right-To-Die Groups

Compassion and Choices
Compassion and Choices formed out of the merger of several established organizations and is the oldest choice-in-dying organization in the country. They promote the position that decisions about the end of your life should be made by you.

Death with Dignity National Center
DDNC proposed, helped to pass and implement Oregon's 1994 Death with Dignity law, which allows terminally ill individuals to hasten their own deaths. Euthanasia World Directory
Run by English author and Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphrey, this site features extensive information about euthanasia including a glossary of relevant terms and a chronology of right-to-die events. See also the related site,

Anti-Euthanasia Groups

Not Dead Yet
This prominent disability rights group opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia on the grounds that they establish a deadly double standard for people with severe disabilities, both with terminal and nonterminal conditions.

National Right to Life
This pro-life group, founded in response to Roe v. Wade, offers a "pro-life living will," which starts from the principle that the presumption should be for life.

International Taskforce of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
The International Taskforce works to combat euthanasia and assisted suicide from the public policy perspective.

Physicians for Compassionate Care Educational Foundation
PCCEF is an association of physicians and health professionals that promotes compassionate care for severely ill patients without assisting or sanctioning suicide.


The Washington Post: "A Calculated Departure"
This article by physician and bioethicist Barron Lerner asks the question: For someone in good health, can suicide ever be a rational decision?

Harper's Magazine: "Life Everlasting"
Author, minister and right-to-die supporter Garret Keizer on the ethics and politics of the right-to-die debate.

National Review Online: "Noxious Nitschke"
Lawyer and advocate Wesley J. Smith argues that the premises of the right-to-die movement are a dangerous and radical individualism. See also Smith's article on the implications of Terri Schiavo's death and other articles.

Death: A Friend to be Welcomed, Not an Enemy to be Defeated
Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong advocates for the right to die and argues that there is not a division between the principles of the right to die movement and Judeo-Christian belief.

Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you or someone you care about is facing overwhelming challenges, is feeling like there is too little to look forward to in life, or is talking about not wanting to go on, please know that help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to anyone struggling with these complex issues. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), for free and confidential help at any time of day or night. With help comes hope.

Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention (CESP)
The CESP site offers support, guidance and hope for severely depressed and/or suicidal older adults, including a 24 hour Friendship Line and grief counseling.

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
SAVE works to prevent suicide through education, building public awareness and eliminating the stigma.

Befrienders International: Email Befriending
Befrienders International is a confidential email support system for depressed and suicidal people.

If you are thinking about suicide, read this first...
A site prepared by founder Martha Ainsworth whose goal was to break down the barriers that keep people from getting the help that they need.

American Association of Suicidology
AAS is a non-profit organization that promotes suicide research, understanding and prevention.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
AFSP is a nonprofit that funds research, education and treatment programs.

Also on PBS and NPR and Related Websites

POV: A Family Undertaking
"A Family Undertaking" explores the growing home-funeral movement, following several families as they reclaim the end of life by forgoing a typical mortuary funeral to care for their loved ones at home. Get answers about home funerals in our Ask the Expert feature and trace the evolution of the American way of death in our interactive timeline. (2004)

On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying
This four-part series explores the gap between the kind of end-of-life care Americans want and what our culture currently provides. The companion website features interviews and resources on end-of-life tools, care options and the dying experience. (2000)

Bill Moyers: With Eyes Open
This follow-up series to On Our Own Terms addresses caregiving, grief, difficult decisions and what may lie beyond death. (2000)

Online NewsHour: Terri Schiavo Case
A discussion about some of the issues raised by the life and death of Terri Schiavo, with guests from both sides of the right-to-die debate. (2005)

Online News Hour: Dying with Dignity
A report into the American experience of death. Most older Americans say they want to die a quiet death at home, but the fact is that millions don't get their wish. (1999)

PBSKids: Dealing With Death
This PBSKids guide for kids dealing with death features helpful articles like "When Someone is Sick." (2005)

NPR Stories

Talk of the Nation: Suicide and Family
This program examines the hidden repercussions of suicide from the perspective of family and friends left behind. (2003)

All Things Considered: Exploring Death in America
This site features some excellent transcripts from the series about end-of-life issues, the biology of suicide, and other thought-provoking topics. (1998)

Morning Edition: Making End-of-Life Decisions
Joseph Shapiro discusses the views of disability civil rights activists on life-sustaining care issues. (2003)