Dr. Marianne Matzo, a founder of the nonprofit Everyone Dies, recently spoke at the Hospice & Palliative Care Conference hosted by St. Anselm College and the Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance of NH. The talk provided an eye-opening look at Everyone Dies, a podcast that educates people on every aspect of death and dying.
“I knew professionally that people needed information because I work with patients within palliative care and oncology. I come home after teaching patients all day and think, ‘God, there’s got to be a better way,’” Marianne said. Marianne is a certified advanced nurse practitioner in oncology and palliative care, and has dedicated her four-decade-plus- career in nursing to pain and symptom management for people living with incurable illnesses.
Marianne is also co-editor of the textbook, Palliative Care Nursing: Quality Care to the End of Life, now in its sixth edition, and she worked at St. Anselm College as a gerontology project director.
Everyone Dies’ mission is “to provide public education regarding serious illness, dying, death, and bereavement with the goal of changing the culture of dying and death in the United States through education.”
“We built the Everyone Dies podcast so each episode stands alone. For example, if your father has Alzheimer’s and is not eating and drinking, you’re wondering, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ You can go to that episode for a detailed physiological explanation,” she said.
Two years in, there are over 100 episodes. It’s a great resource for both professional and family caregivers, as you can listen while driving. The podcast normalizes discussions about death and dying while educating and empowering people with information and resources.
The normalization of death helps people learn how to talk about it, understand what options are available in situations of life-limiting illness, and communicate their choices to family and health care practitioners.
“I’ve had some older adults say, ‘What’s a podcast?’ So we put on our website how to listen to a podcast,” she said.
Everyone Dies also produced a children’s book called “Everyone Dies, and Yes It Is Normal,” to help educate children about death being a natural part of the life cycle.
“I’ve done one in-person talk since Covid, and I sold out every book I had with me. I know there’s a need,” Marianne said. “I really think we need to do more getting it to the people who would say, ‘Oh yeah, when my “fill in the blank” died, I wish I had something like that.’”