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Documenting dreams of the dying at Hospice

A local doctor at Hospice Buffalo became interested in the experiences of people dying. He found that many of the patients had inner world experiences by way of dreams.

Hospice Buffalo CEO Dr. Christopher Kerr is likely one of the first doctors in the world to ask dying patients about their experiences and document it on video up until they die.

The vast majority were having very vivid and virtual like dream experiences," said Dr. Kerr.  More often he says the dying patients had dreams of deceased loved ones. Travel, dead pets, old memories, and significant events are also popular in the dreams of the dying. 

"The closer they got to death more frequently they were seeing people who had passed and when we looked at what provided the most comfort it was those kinds of dreams."

Many of the dreams are good and positive. "Those who harmed us seemed to be edited out and those who loved us right and nurtured us come to the forefront. Time seems to be irrelevant. You could be close to 90, but your most striking imagery is when you were a child at five or six years old

The dreams of a dying child are different. "A lot of them haven't known people who have died so what their dreams get populated with is animals they know that have passed."

Everyone who has to participate was fully cognizant because it is a university-approved study.

Dr. Kerr's research on end of life experiences is getting international attention. A  documentary is in production and a book will likely be released within a year.  

Watch Dr. Kerr's TEDxBuffalo

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