Disrupting Death

Conversations about Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada

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About the Podcast

Disrupting Death: conversations about Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada. Hosts, Kathy Kortes-Miller and Keri-Lyn Durant lead with curiosity as they interview a wide range of guests who know M.A.i.D intimately.

 About the Research Project

This podcast is funded through a 5 year Insight Grant: Disrupting Death; An examination of Canadian experiences with medical assistance in dying (MAiD) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Our research team is grateful for this funding and excited to use this podcast to have important conversations about MAiD and end-of-life. The goal of this research is to provide insight and contribute to improving the implementation of accessible, person-centered MAiD for Canadians and alongside the following objectives:

  1. Acquire a deeper understanding of the experiences of Canadians who are intimately impacted by MAiD including 3 different groups of Canadians most intimately involved with MAiD, those who request it (individuals), those who accompany them (informal caregivers; friends and family) and those who provide the intervention (health care providers)

  2. Increase understanding about the questions, concerns, and desires that Canadian have about MAiD and other aspects of end-of-life care through interviews and focus groups; 

  3. Use a community engagement process to increase the information Canadians have about MAiD using digital stories and a podcast.

  4. Expand upon a multi-year research program informed by people who have bee impacted by MAiD that will directly address identified knowledge, system and policy gaps; to develop a research relationship with community partners and community members as a basis for future collaboration.

Episodes

Friday Jun 21, 2024

Dans cet épisode, et un changement dans le format habituel, Keri-Lyn et Alyssa Laflamme discutent avec Patrick Durivage et ont une riche discussion sur les soins palliatifs et l'AMM au Québec à travers le point de vue d'un travailleur social.
Travailleur social au programme de soins à domicile du CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, Patrick Durivage s’intéresse aux soins palliatifs dispensés aux personnes âgées en contexte à domicile. Il dispense des formations aux professionnels de la santé et des services sociaux sur les problématiques vécues par les personnes en fin de vie et par les personnes proches aidantes. En tant que praticien-chercheur, M. Durivage collabore avec des partenaires universitaires sur de nombreux projets de recherche dans le domaine. Il est coauteur de publications sur les soins palliatifs à domicile et fait des présentations sur le sujet lors de congrès nationaux et internationaux.
Nommé par son ordre professionnel, il est commissaire à la Commission de fin de vie du Québec qui examine toute question relative aux soins de fin de vie et veille à l’application des exigences relatives à l’aide médicale à mourir. Il est également membre du Conseil des soins palliatifs de McGill, qui vise à sensibiliser le public aux soins palliatifs.
Music for Disrupting Death a été créé par la toujours charmante Sarah McInnis. Sarah est musicothérapeute, auteure-compositrice, multi-instrumentiste et Doula de fin de vie. En 2021, Sarah a lancé The Legacy Song Project, écrivant des chansons originales pour les personnes en fin de vie et pour les personnes qui ont perdu des êtres chers. Pour en savoir plus sur Sarah, visitez son site Web https://sarahmcinnis.com
Cet épisode de Disrupting Death a été édité par Alyssa Laflamme et Sadie Mallon.

Friday Jun 21, 2024

In this episode of Disrupting Death, Kathy and Keri chat with Marcy Lane, author of A Mercy of Widows, a debut novel that “interweaves the tapestry of real emotion with the threads of a captivating narrative.” We invite you to sit back and listen as the conversation unfolds about MAiD, grief, Canada’s legal system, and why dogs are simply the best!
At 60, Marcy has transmuted the trials of her own life—including being widowed twice to cancer—into a wellspring of resilience that pours into her character-driven storytelling. Marcy's journey is marked by academic distinction with three degrees, a reflective mind, and a heart devoted to the causes she believes in. Her 24 years at the helm of a charity speak to a lifetime commitment to making a difference, paralleled by the deep empathy she extends to her characters.
Grief's shadow, particularly the complex grief Marcy faced following her second loss, has led to a profound understanding of the human condition, an understanding that breathes life into her tales. A Mercy of Widows is not autobiographical, but the emotions within are a mirror to grief—real, raw, and unfiltered. Now nestled in a cozy cottage in southwestern Ontario with her dogs, Bug and Lucy, Marcy finds solace and inspiration by Lake Erie. Her home is a sanctuary where she crafts stories that navigate through life's thorniest issues with grace and depth.
Marcy’s writing is not just an exploration but a tribute to the resilience and complexity of ordinary folks, shining a light on the silent struggles and unsung triumphs that define us all.
Music for Disrupting Death was created by the ever lovely Sarah McInnis. Sarah is a music therapist, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist, and End-of-Life Doula. In 2021, Sarah began The Legacy Song Project, writing original songs for folks at the end-of-life, and for folks who have lost loved ones. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website: https://sarahmcinnis.com
This episode of Disrupting Death was edited by Sadie Mallon.

Friday May 17, 2024

This episode of Disrupting Death has hosts Kathy and Keri involved in aconversation about MAiDHouse with Tekla Hendrickson, Executive Director. MAiDHouse is a non-profit organisation devoted to providing those eligible to receive medical assistance in dying (MAiD) with a supportive, inclusive, and comfortable setting. MAiDHouse provides information, resources, and services for those eligible to receive MAiD, families, and healthcare providers. The first MAiDHouse location isin Toronto, Canada.
Tekla Hendrickson has extensive experience, locally and internationally, in managing, operating, and advising not-for-profits in the areas of health promotion, homelessness, and women’s rights. Tekla has co-authored articles on developing processes to engage marginalized women in research, policy, and practice; the issue of homelessness and developing shared solutions. Tekla is a past board member of Women’s College Hospital, Unit Director ofSistering, Provincial Director of Ontario Women’s Health Network and co-founder of Toronto Community Based Research Network and Inclusion Research. Tekla has been a member of the Disability and Women Advisory Committee for the Associationfor Women Action and Research - Singapore. Tekla was a delegate at The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (2008).
In this episode, Tekla mentions the MAiDHouse Memory Quilt Project.You can find more events and information at MAiDHouse.
Music for Disrupting Death was created by Sarah McInnis. Sarah is a music therapist, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist, and End-of-Life Doula. In 2021, Sarah began The Legacy Song Project, writing original songs for folks at the end-of-life,and for folks who have lost loved ones. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website https://sarahmcinnis.com.
This episode of Disrupting Death was produced by Sadie Mallon.

Friday Apr 19, 2024

In this episode of Disrupting Death hosts Kathy and Keri have the distinct pleasure of speaking with Ruth Steinberg about her exhibition, The Leave-Taking, which tells the story of the photo-based artist’s friend and neighbour Alma as she lives her life in the time before her medically assisted death. The subtitle of the exhibition is: What is Given and What is Left: Ruth Steinberg’s Exploration of Living and Dying Authentically. Listen how she discusses her relationship to her subject within the context of both spaces as well as in the liminal space in between. 
Trigger warning: Themes of death, dying and suicide
Ruth Steinberg is a photo-based artist who uses the camera as a tool to open doors of conversation, uplifting the voices of her subjects. Through visual storytelling she examines facets of dignity, resilience, and presence within marginalised communities, particularly with the elderly. Her work has been shown across North America and internationally including the Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa, LACP: Centre of Photography in California, PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont, and FotoNostrum, Mediterranean House of Photography in Barcelona. In 2017, as part of an intergenerational chain of mentorship, Steinberg was selected to exhibit in Continuum: Karsh Award artists welcome a new generation. In 2022 she received the first place for the Figureworks Award and in 2023 she was a Photolucida Critical Mass 200 finalist. Steinberg’s exhibition, The Leave-Taking, discussed in this episode, is a finalist for the Project X photography prize in Ottawa, results of which will be announced May 21.
Music for Disrupting Death was created by Sarah McInnis. Sarah is a music therapist, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist, and End-of-Life Doula. In 2021, Sarah began The Legacy Song Project, writing original songs for folks at the end-of-life, and for folks who have lost loved ones. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website https://sarahmcinnis.com.
This episode of Disrupting Death was produced by Sadie Mallon.

Friday Mar 15, 2024

In this special one year anniversary episode, Kathy and Keri speak with Sarah McInnis, the creator of Disrupting Death's music, and learn more about how Sarah utilizes music to normalize, socialize and honour death dying and grief. In the second half of the episode, the tables are turned as the editor of the podcast, Sadie Mallon, interviews co-hosts Kathy and Keri.
 
Trigger warning: Themes of death, dying and suicide
 
Sarah McInnis is an accomplished songwriter, music therapist, and end of life doula. In 2021 she created The Legacy Song Project. Moving through her own experiences with loss, she wanted to support others doing the same. By interviewing people at the end of life and folks who have lost loved ones, Sarah writes and records personal songs, based on the stories that she hears. In 2023 Sarah released an 8 song album, featuring the songs and stories of everyday people across the four Atlantic-Canadian provinces. The album, THREADS, is a one-of-a-kind collection of songs that gives voice to heartening and heart-breaking experiences of death, grief, love, and loss, and ultimately what it means to be human. Accompanied by a short documentary film, created by filmmakers Aly Kelly & Pat LePoidevin, this project has been making waves across Canada, with its evocative subject matter and the songs that are at its core. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website https://sarahmcinnis.com
 
Music for Disrupting Death was created by the ever lovely Sarah McInnis. 
 
This episode of Disrupting Death was edited by Sadie Mallon.

Friday Feb 16, 2024

In this episode of Disrupting Death, hosts Kathy and Keri sit down with Dr. Jeff Myers for an insightful interview. Join them as they navigate the complexities and challenges surrounding advance requests and learn more about the relationship between palliative care and medical assistance in dying.
 
Trigger warning: Themes of death, dying and suicide
 
Dr. Jeff Myers is clinically based at Sinai Health’s Palliative Care Unit within the Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital. He is an Associate Professor and is University of Toronto’s Bresver Family Chair in End-of-Life Care & Medical Assistance in Dying within Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. 
 
Music for Disrupting Death was created by the ever lovely Sarah McInnis. Sarah is a music therapist, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist and End-of-Life Doula. In 2021, Sarah began The Legacy Song Project, writing original songs for folks at the end-of-life, and for folks who have lost loved ones. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website https://sarahmcinnis.com
 
This episode of Disrupting Death was edited by Sadie Mallon.

Friday Jan 19, 2024

On this episode of Disrupting Death, Kathy and Keri speak with entrepreneur, author, and volunteer witness for MAiD Kathy Kastner. With humour and relatability, Kathy discusses the importance of developing more accessible and thoughtful language in healthcare, and the importance of individuals identifying what truly matters to them at the end of their lives.
PS. In this episode, Keri mentions her puppet “Phoebe the Sloth." Phoebe the Sloth is Keri’s educational puppet. Together, Keri and Phoebe help kids talk about living and life, and dying and death.
Kathy Kastner became an entrepreneur in the health space when pregnant with her first daughter. Applying skills developed as a television producer and reporter, she co-founded The Health Television System, to create hospital-based patient education TV networks: The Parent Channel and Healthtv, in teaching hospitals across North America. A Twitter chat sparked an interest in palliative, hospice care and medical assistance in dying, leading to creating BestEndings.com, to share as she learned from a patient’s point of view. To dig deeper into MAID, Kathy is a volunteer witness for the necessary paperwork required to begin the MAID approval process.
Kathy is an author: 'Death Kills’; her original research, The Whiteboard Experiment, has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Her TEDxTalk: Exit Laughing; Keynote presentation at Stanford University: Sweat the Small Stuff. YouTube series, ’10-second MedSchool’, on medication administration confusion. She also facilitates workshops on Dying and Death with students in the University of Toronto’s Center for Advancing Collaborative Health and Education. Her personal website KathyKastner.com
You can find Kathy on Twitter @kathykastner Instagram: @mybestendings and Youtube: KathyKastnerBestEndings
TEDxTalks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbh694DDufk
You can buy Kathy’s book, Death Kills, here: https://www.amazon.ca/Death-things-learned-internet-illustrated-ebook/dp/B01LXKFCBV
 

Friday Dec 15, 2023

A play about medical assistance in dying? That’s right! In this episode, Kathy and Keri have an enthralling conversation with Catherine Frid and Simon Malbogoat, the playwright and director “Two-Sided Mirror,” an interactive play that follows a family whose member is considering MAiD. Through the viewpoints of each family member, the realities of MAID and its implications are explored. The interactive element of the play allows for audience members to find new ways to navigate these challenging circumstances, should they arise.
Trigger warning: Themes of death, dying and suicide
 
You can read more about Two-Sided Mirror on mixedcompanytheatre.com 
 
Simon Malbogat is a prominent figure in Canada's theatre scene with over 25 years of experience. He has studied with the greatest contemporary popular theatre practitioners and blended Forum Theatre with the Sweet Medicine Teachings (SMT) of the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society for an innovative theatre and teaching approach. Simon has directed and acted in over 50 new Canadian works, many of which are now seen as important benchmarks in the development of Canadian theatre.
 
Catherine Frid is a Guelph-based playwright whose full-length works have been showcased at prominent venues, such as Toronto Fringe and SummerWorks. She is known for co-creating community-engaged plays and has publications in various collections. Catherine teaches dramaturgy at Ryerson University’s Chang School, has been Playwright in Residence at Mixed Company Theatre, and is the artistic director of Watercourse Theatre.
 
Music for Disrupting Death was created by the ever lovely Sarah McInnis. Sarah is a music therapist, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist and End-of-Life Doula. In 2021, Sarah began The Legacy Song Project, writing original songs for folks at the end-of-life, and for folks who have lost loved ones. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website https://sarahmcinnis.com
 
This episode of Disrupting Death was edited by Sadie Mallon.

Friday Nov 17, 2023

“Fear death less and love life more” In this episode of Disrupting Death, Kathy and Keri speak with Tania Stilson about her father, John Warren, who advocated for Canadians’ access to MAiD right up until the evening before he accessed it himself. 
Trigger warning: Themes of death, dying and suicide
Fact Check: Tania mentions that to qualify for Bridge C-14 support services, individuals need to have completed at least one MAiD assessment. This is accurate for Bridge C-14 1:1 peer support. However, it's important to note that their drop-in sessions and Facebook group are inclusive and welcome anyone in the stages of considering MAiD, in the process of applying, already approved, or found ineligible.
 
Tania Stilson has been sharing the perspective of her family’s MAiD journey (Track 2) since her Dad’s passing in January 2023. She and her Dad shared the belief that, like most good things in life, a good death is worth thinking and talking about. Unique to the story is that her father, John Warren, was a long-time advocate of Medical Assistance in Dying. He sat as the Vice Chair on the Board of Directors for Dying with Dignity Canada from 2011 – 2015, and was responsible for writing letters, opinion pieces, blog posts and being interviewed by radio stations nation-wide. This included the historical events of the Carter Case, which eventually led to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in 2015. Also unique, is that John’s passing was NOT deemed a reasonably foreseeable natural death, although all other criteria were, of course, met. His MAiD journey was a Track 2 vs. Track 1 experience. An event, according to the latest MAiD in Canada Report (2021), that currently occurs in only 2.2% of the MAiD provisions. Tania’s lived experience has led her to feel that Canadians who know that MAiD is a legal choice, falsely believe it is only for those who are terminally ill. She wants to help to further develop the conversations around all options, and help expand the support, knowledge, and on-going narrative so that Canadians are empowered to discuss the care options that will best align with their values.
You can learn more about John Warren’s story here: https://lethbridgeherald.com/news/lethbridge-news/2023/04/21/sacpa-hears-about-one-mans-journey-to-a-death-by-choice/
 
And watch Tania speak at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OH57bh0FG4
 
Music for Disrupting Death was created by the ever lovely Sarah McInnis. Sarah is a music therapist, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist and End-of-Life Doula. In 2021, Sarah began The Legacy Song Project, writing original songs for folks at the end-of-life, and for folks who have lost loved ones. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website https://sarahmcinnis.com
This episode of Disrupting Death was edited by Sadie Mallon.

Friday Oct 20, 2023

Shamanism and Medical Assistance in Dying? In this episode of Disrupting Death, Kathy and Keri engage in an insightful conversation with Gaye Hanson, a shamanic practitioner who combines her expertise as a healthcare policy analyst, researcher, and grief expert with her shamanistic knowledge.
Trigger warning: Themes of death, dying and suicide
 
Gaye Hanson is a nurse leader of Cree ancestry with a life-long commitment to community service. She lives in Whitehorse, Yukon and is the mother of one amazing daughter, mother-in-law to a courageous young man and grandmother to two beautiful girls. Gaye is a shamanic practitioner of close to 30 years of experience offering individual, couple and small group sessions, workshops and supported drumming circles. She is also President of Hanson and Associates, an Indigenous management consulting company founded in 1994. As a consultant, she works with Indigenous governments and non-government organizations in program design, delivery and evaluation. Her passions include development of Indigenous and land-based healing programs in areas of loss, grief and grieving; trauma; addictions; wellness and well-being. Gaye is a spirit-led helper who holds a treasured shamanic tradition along with degrees in Nursing and Public Administration.
 
Music for Disrupting Death was created by the ever lovely Sarah McInnis. Sarah is a music therapist, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist and End-of-Life Doula. In 2021, Sarah began The Legacy Song Project, writing original songs for folks at the end-of-life, and for folks who have lost loved ones. To learn more about Sarah, visit her website https://sarahmcinnis.com
 
This episode of Disrupting Death was edited by Sadie Mallon.

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