The Heart of Hospice 

Interview with Barbara Karnes, RN - Podcast 005

A few weeks ago we had the privilege of having a conversation with Barbara Karnes, one of end of life care’s foremost authorities on death and dying. Barbara has devoted her career to improving the quality of end of life care.  As an RN, writer, teacher, and speaker, she has guided patients and families, as well as end of life professionals through death and dying. The awards that Barbara has received include The Heart of Health Care Award from Kansas University Nursing, The Horizon Award for Education from Nebraska Methodist College, and International Humanitarian Woman of the Year for 2015 from the World Humanitarian Awards. Barbara has written several publications on the dying process, one of which is used widely by hospice agencies all over the U.S. as a resource to provide to hospice patients and families.  Gone from My Sight, or “the little blue book” as it’s called by hospice professionals, is a guide to the dying process. One of her latest projects is a DVD program promoting self care, called "Care for the Caregiver."  It encourages hospice and healthcare professionals to take care of themselves so they don't become burnout. Read More...


Creative Healing, LLC: Opening the Heart of Western Medicine by Karen Wyatt

New Rules for End of Life Care with Barbara Karnes, RN

My guest Barbara Karnes RN is a pioneer of the hospice movement who has been traveling the country since 1994 speaking about end-of-life issues. Her documentary film New Rules for End of Life Care has garnered numerous awards and sparked conversations all around the world about the normal and natural process of dying. She is also the author of "the little blue book" Gone From My Sight, which has been in print continuously since 1985 and has been utilized by hospices throughout the country for educating patients and families. Read More...

In this interview you will learn:

  • What inspired Barbara to write Gone From My Sight
  • Barbara's "New Rules" for end of life care and why we need them now
  • What Barbara finds discouraging and encouraging about the current state of end of life care
  • Barbara's advice for hospice workers
  • How to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue


The One You Feed by Eric Zimmer 

Talk With Barbara Karnes About Living & Dying Well - Podcast #146:

Barbara Karnes, RN, is an internationally respected speaker, educator, author and thought leader on matters of death and dying. She is a renowned authority to explain the dying process to families, healthcare professionals and the community at large. Barbara has held both clinical and leadership positions, including staff nurse, clinical supervisor and executive director. She has won numerous awards including THE INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2015 from the World Humanitarian Awards. Read More...

 In This Interview, Barbara Karnes and I Discuss…
  • The One You Feed parable
  • That knowledge reduces fear
  • How her work with & knowledge of the dying process influences how she lives
  • That as long as we’re breathing it is an act of living
  • What to do when one receives a terminal diagnosis
  • The labor of dying
  • The process of gradual death
  • The significant changes that happen 1-3 weeks before death
  • How to know if someone is minutes to hours away from their death
  • That dying is not painful; disease causes pain
  • The spiritual driver releasing its hold on the physical body
  • The importance of telling the dying person that you understand that they have to go
  • How to make a person’s transition from one world to the next an easier one
  • How to work through the grieving process after a loved ones’ death
  • How someone goes about finding the right hospice for themselves or their loved ones



Death By Design by Kimberly C Paul

"Knowledge Reduces Fear" Barbara Karnes, End of Life Educator & Nurse - Podcast #3

Barbara Karnes, award-winning end of life educator and nurse, has been at the bedside of hundreds of people during the dying process. Throughout her career, she has recognized that each death follows a very similar path. Each person experiences comparable stages of death, and most individuals and their families have the same questions. Barbara was inspired to help with those questions that people and their loved ones didn’t always have the courage to ask. She is the author of Gone From My Sight, also referred to as the “Hospice Blue Book.” Her book changed the end of life industry and is still being used today by palliative care providers, local hospice organizations, and family members who are looking for answers at the bedside of a dying loved one. In print continuously since 1985, Barbara has sold over twelve million copies. Gone From My Sight has created a movement to help explain the dying process to those of us caring for someone we love with a serious illness.

25 years ago there was no information available for families about the dying process. One woman changed that. And that woman is Barbara Karnes. Read More...



The Art of Manliness, A Man's Life Podcast by Brett McKay

The Dying Experience — Myths and Answers - Podcast #171 

January 22, 2016

All of us are going to die someday. And most of us will have loved ones who will die from disease or old age before we do. In fact, some of you listening right now may be dying yourself or watching a loved one die. Yet most modern Westerners aren’t prepared for the actual event of dying because we’ve done such a great job cordoning it off from the rest of life. If you’re a young person, you’ve likely never seen a person who’s dying. Consequently, there are lot of myths and misconceptions about the dying process. There’s also a lot of fear — both for the person dying and those watching them die. But my guest today has devoted herself to educating people about the dying process and showing people that it’s more than a medical event. Her name is Barbara Karnes. She’s a hospice nurse and the author of several books about dying and how to bring it back to the natural part of life that it is. Today on the podcast Barbara and I get into what to expect when you’re in the twilight of life and how you can make the experience less scary and more meaningful. Read More...

Dance to Death Afterlife Podcast by Brant Huddleston 

“New Rules for End of Life Care,” Part 2 of 2

Episode 30 - Jan 21, 2016 | Matters of the Heart, Planning for Death

In part one of this interview we met Barbara Karnes who spent decades working as a Registered Nurse and was present for the deaths of hundreds of people. The observations she made during those sacred moments, and the lessons she learned, led Barbara to craft a new way to think about dying, one that will transform how families might help a loved one die, and how you might help yourself when your time comes. Her compassionate wisdom is offered in a kit that includes two easy to read booklets and a copy of her new award winning film “New Rules for End of Life Care.”

Now if you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to part one, you might want to jump over there and take a listen, because that’s where we first meet Barbara, and where she talks about how to recognize the signs that someone is dying, and some specific things you can do to help a loved one when they are dying. In this part two we dig deeper into what’s in Barbara’s kit, how it helps, and we take a trip in the Dance to Death time machine into the future. I even ask Barbara if Grandma should be allowed to spark one up and get stoned in her dying days if that what she wants. I think you’ll be surprised at her answer.

Please join me now for part two of my two part interview with internationally respected speaker, educator, author, thought leader, and now, award winning film producer, Barbara Karnes RN. Read More...

Dance to Death Afterlife Podcast by Brant Huddleston 

“New Rules for End of Life Care” Part 1 of 2

Episode 29 - Jan 21, 2016 | Matters of the Heart, Planning for Death

While at the bedside of hundreds of people during the dying process, my guest Barbara Karnes, a Registered Nurse, noticed that each death was following a near identical script. Each person was going through the stages of death in almost the same manner. And most families had the same questions. These realizations led Barbara to sit down and write the "Little Blue Book" — a book that changed an industry. Written in non-medical language for families, her booklet changed the way we experience the death of a loved one, because with knowledge comes understanding, and understanding reduces fear.

Barbara’s most recent project is a 25 minute film called "New Rules for End of Life Care," in which she compassionately explains the stages of the dying process, talks about behavior changes as they pertain to food, sleep, and withdrawal, and addresses issues relating to the use of narcotics, addiction, and overdosing. The film is racking up more awards than I can list, and when you listen to Barbara speak, you’ll know why. Hers is the voice of wisdom, grace, experience, and kindness. Read More...

Life Matters - Episode 219 

Yoga Chat with the Accidental Yogist

After seeing "New Rule For End of Life Care" at the Awareness Festival, Joni Yung sought out Barbara Karnes, RN to be a guest on her Podcast to talk about the film. "New Rules for End of Life Care" gives information on end of life care that addresses not only the behavior changes as they pertain to food, sleep and withdrawal but pain management and the use of narcotics, addiction, and overdosing. 

Journey Podcast: Deanna Cochran

Barbara Karnes and Demedicalizing Dying

Deanna Cochran interviews Award winning author and nurse, Barbara Karnes has seen the evolution of the hospice movement from the beginning and has seen what is working and what is not. We have a very frank discussion in this episode of how the new wave of death awareness may fit in to help fix the weak areas in our present system. Read More...


Good Grief Radio Show with Cheryl Jones

Gone From My Sight

At the end of life, there is so much mystery, so much we don't know. But because of the work of Barbara Karnes, we do have a map of the physical territory. Just knowing that what is happening to a loved one at the end is part of the natural process of dying can be a tremendous comfort. How did Barbara come to write her seminal books to support hospice patients and their families? What feeds her passion for educating all of us about what to expect at the end of life, and how to support each other? What changes has she seen in the field over her long career? Join us to find out.

Read More....



Through the Eyes of Women Radio: Corinne Frugoni

The Labor of Dying

“Birth and death are the only two universal experiences in the human condition.”

So writes Barbara Karnes, RN who noticed, after her experience at the bedside of hundreds of people before they died, that each death she witnessed was following an almost identical script. Each person was going through the same thing. And most families had the same questions.

In our society death is practically viewed as optional and is definitely a conversation stopper. Most of us are woefully unprepared when a loved one dies. Consequently Barbara took it upon herself to provide instruction to families, friends, caregivers and professionals about the dynamics of dying beginning years to moments before the last breath. Read More

From Grief to Grace: Chaz Wesley

Gone From My Sight

Twenty-five years ago there was no information available for families about the dying process. One woman changed that. Barbara Karnes, RN, has dedicated the last 32 years of her life to the education, care, and comforting of dying people and their loved ones—and the most useful things she’s learned along the way be been distilled into her books. With over 8 million copies sold, "The Hospice Blue Book," Gone From My Sight, changed the way we experience the death of a loved one. Another booklet, My Friend, I Care is a guide through the grief experience—and proves that knowledge reduces fear. 


Alaska Radio Show


The New York Times: by Sara Manning Peskin, M.D.

The Gentler Symptoms Of Dying

The patient’s hair was styled with curls so stiff, they held her head a few inches up from her hospital pillow. She had painted her lips a shade of bright pink that exuded the confidence of age. Just after her colon burst, she was still awake. She looked around, at me, at the monitors. She asked for pain medication. “Am I dying?” she asked. “We think so,” I said, touching her manicured fingernails. “I am here with you.” Later, she kept her eyes closed but opened them when we talked. It was a state that the author and hospice nurse Barbara Karnes described as “one foot in each world.” Read More...

NPR Oregon Public Broadcasting: by Irene Kacandes and Steve Gordon 

On Learning How To Die

On Learning How To Die NPR Barbara Karnes

Longtime hospice nurse Barbara Karnes, for instance, advises those approaching their deaths to not put things off until a day or hour when they are feeling better. Assume, she suggests, that today is the best you're ever going to feel and attend to those activities and people who are priorities for you. We think that this is great advice, too, for those of us who have no reason to think our ends are near — because they actually could be, and also because we believe a good life means living your priorities and values as fully as possible at all times. To live them, you have to know them, and to know them, you have to spend time thinking about them. Read More...



The Globe: b Knutson / Forum News Service

Simply dying: End-of-life expert offers comforting advice

Simply dying: End-of-life expert offers comforting advice

FARGO — Everybody dies.

But according to best-selling author and speaker Barbara Karnes, most people think "Everyone 'else' dies. I'm not going to, and neither is anyone close to me," she says. Karnes says humans are like ostriches sticking their heads into the sand." When it comes to the end of life, we don't want to look at it if we don't have to," she says. "Even when we have to, we tend to not want to deal with it." With more than 30 years of experience as a hospice registered nurse, Karnes skillfully guides families and communities toward considering their deaths through her books, DVD kits and presentations."Karnes is an expert who quite literally wrote the book on end-of-life care," says Bonnie Oelschlager, marketing and communications manager at Hospice of the Red River Valley, the event organizer. Since her book "Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience" (known as "The Little Blue Book") was published in 1986, Karnes has spread this message of awareness, courage and love. Read More...


Townsend Letter: by Elaine Zablocki

Pathways to Healing: Death Is a Process

Barbara Karnes, RN TOWNSEND LETTER  by Elaine Zablocki

Last fall, my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer, and I traveled to the East Coast to be with him. For 2 months, I spent several hours with him each day. My brother had terminal cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), with only a few months to live. Transfusions kept him alive. He was functioning well. He often had a smile on his face; he watched football games on Sunday with enjoyment. He was determined to live as long as possible, and to enjoy the time that was left to him. At the same time, his body had begun to shut down. Read More...  


Huffington Post Healthy Living: Judith Johnson

Do You Have 'The Little Blue Book' in Your House?

If you are wondering what I'm talking about, it is for you that I am writing this blog! Here's the bottom line: We were all born one moment of one day, and each of us is going to die one moment of another day -- we just don't get to know when that will be. For some of us, that is a major source of anxiety. Furthermore, we live in a society that has kept us in the dark about what to expect when we, or someone we love, dies. This absence of knowledge not only makes us ill-prepared to face death, but it feeds our fear of death, which in turn diminishes our enjoyment of life. Read More

Moments of Life: Barbara Karnes 

Hospice Helps People LIVE the Best They Can

Hospice care has a bad PR image

Hospice care has a bad PR image, not because we’re not good at what we do, but because people believe hospice takes care of people who are dying. Since we are a death denying society, no one wants to hear that they need hospice services. Read More

Three things families need to know when a loved one is dying

Three Things Families Need to Know When a Loved One is Dying

Around kitchen tables and in living rooms in homes across the country, more Americans are beginning to have that difficult conversation – discussing their end-of-life wishes. While it's important for loved ones to know the level of care and support you want at the end of life, it also is imperative that we talk about the process of death and dying. Read More

Confessions of a Funeral Director: Caleb Wilde

“This is How We Die”: A Morning with a Hospice Nurse

“This is How We Die”: A Morning with a Hospice Nurse Barbara Karnes RN

On Tuesday morning all I knew was that I was setting up an O’Connor table at the Heartland Hospice event that we were co-hosting. I got the table cloth & brochures all set out, greeted the attendees, and sat down in the back intending to “work” on my computer when the speaker, Barbara Karnes, a hospice nurse of 32 years, began speaking. Read More

The Edge: Michelle Markelz

Hospice Care: The Little Blue Book

Hospice Care: The Little Blue Book article about Barbara Karnes RN
 By the time you call hospice care, your house is pretty full. There is a freezer bursting with sympathy dinners, and its door is covered in sympathy cards. Once hospice arrives, it gets even fuller. They bring social workers with cathartic exercises and nurses to administer pain medication. One level-headed person wears scrubs and checks for a pulse while everyone else sobs or considers their grief. But no matter how crowded it gets, there’s always room for the “little blue book.” Read More                                                                                                                                                                  


Sahuarita Sun: Ellen Sussman

Expert Barbara Karnes, RN Speaks to Realities of Death

Sahuarita Sun: Ellen Sussman  Expert Barbara Karnes, RN speaks to realities of death

There are two ways to die — gradual or fast, she says. Dying fast is easier on the ill or injured but is harder on the living, she said. Most people who die from disease do certain things at certain times. It may take months or weeks; when it comes down to days, hours and minutes, Karnes said we all die the same. Read More






NHPCO Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RNNHPCO Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN


NHPCO Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN NHPCO Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN


End of Life University Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RNEnd of Life University Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN


Webinar with Kinnser featuring Barbara Karnes, RN

Kinnser Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN New Rules for End of Life Care



 Kinnser Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN New Rules for End of Life Care

Kinnser Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN New Rules for End of Life Care




Macy Catheter Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN Macy Catheter Webinar featuring Barbara Karnes, RN