Barbara Karnes on Dementia and the End of Life | Neutralizing the Fear of Dying

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Episode Description

“People don’t understand that there’s a normal, natural way of dying. My materials are written to guide and support anyone who finds themselves addressing end of life situations. The goal is to help people have a positive experience so everyone involved will have a sacred memory to carry with them.” – Barbara Karnes, RN

In this episode, Hannah Vale and Barbara Karnes talk about dementia and the end of life. Hospice doulas are playing a very important role in end of life care. Learn the signs to look for to know when a patient should call an end of life or dementia doula. 

Barbara also talks about how interdisciplinary care teams can reduce the fear of dying by educating their patients and families and doing some things that are practical. 

Learn about her resource and an exciting new project that will be released in 2024!

Barbara Karnes, RN, is an internationally recognized author, speaker, thought leader and expert on end of life care and the dynamics of dying. Barbara was recognized in 2018 as a Hospice Innovator by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and was named the 2015 International Humanitarian Woman of the Year by the World Humanitarian Awards.

If it has to do with death and dying, Barbara Karnes, RN is talking about it. Her articles have been featured in The NY Times, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, & The Washington Post, among others.  Awarded the NHPCO Innovator award for her decades as an end-of-life educator and for her iconic booklet, GONE FROM MY SIGHT: The Dying Experience (aka: "the little blue hospice book").

Barbara’s career spans four decades and began as an early hospice pioneer during the AIDS crisis. In addition to the many years she has spent at the bedside caring for patients and their families as a nurse, Barbara has also served as executive director of hospice and various home-health agencies. She has also worked through the hospice ranks as patient care manager, clinical director, staff, nurse, and volunteer. Barbara is a dedicated end of life educator, training professionals, authoring resource materials, booklets, movies, and her fabulous blog.

You may find Barbara’s end of life resources for patients, families, and caregivers on her website:

Barbara’s Social Media Platforms:




Family Support Bundle and other resources we talked about on this podcast can be found on Barbara’s website. 


Office #:  360.828.7132

Barbara’s email address:

Barbara’s experience as a hospice care provider at the bedside of hundreds of people, and as an administrator overseeing the care of thousands, led to the 1985 publication of Gone from My Sight: The Dying Experience. Affectionately referred to in the industry as the “little blue hospice book,” Gone from My Sight has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, is published in 12 languages, and remains the leading resource on the market today educating families on the signs of approaching death. 

In 2015, Barbara’s film New Rules for End of Life Care was featured in film festivals around the world and was the recipient of 10 prestigious film awards.


Barbara’s other award-winning publications and films include:

The Eleventh Hour: A Caring Guideline to the Hours to Minutes Before Death

A Time to Live: Living with a Life-Threatening Illness

My Friend, I Care: The Grief Experience,

You Need Care Too: Self Care for the Professional Caregiver

How Do I Know You? Dementia at End of Life

A Place in My Heart: When Our Pets Die

Pain at End of Life: What You Need to Know About End of Life Pain and Comfort Management,

BY YOUR SIDE: A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home

The Final Act of Living: Reflections of a Long-Time Hospice Nurse.

Care for the Caregiver, DVD

This is How People Die, DVD

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