How do you shift culture around the end of life to be more expansive and humane? By expanding our collective imagination about what’s possible. Our research seeks to uncover what stories are out there and what stories are missing so we might better educate, inform and inspire people to seek the care that most matches their vision for ending well.
Almost all deaths depicted on television are violent or traumatic. The majority of illness-related deaths depicted occur within a hospital setting. Dying characters are often plot points in other character’s stories, with little agency of their own. Palliative care is rarely discussed and hospice is often used as shorthand for imminent death. BIPOC characters are underrepresented and LGBTQ characters almost nonexistent. Alternative treatments like psychedelics are almost never shown.
Rebecca Pardo, PhD, Tracy Wheeler, Shoshana Ungerleider, MD
80% of people say they want to die at home, yet only 30% do. The rest die in institutions often alone and in pain. How might we begin to change things? In part, through the stories told on television. End Well partnered with the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project to conduct original quantitative and qualitative research in order to better understand the challenges and opportunities around bringing educational and inspiring stories about the choices and options around end of life care to television. Read on, some of the results might surprise you.
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