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Final Journeys: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life Paperback – March 24, 2009


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Frequently Bought Together

Final Journeys: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life + Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying + Dying Well
Price for all three: $38.79

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553382748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553382747
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“What do we all want, when we approach the inevitable? For a wise, hilarious, sensitive, and pragmatic nurse to sit at our bedside and tell us truths that are helpful, healing, and humane. Maggie Callanan is just that nurse, and Final Journeys is exactly that truth-telling.”—Stephen P. Kiernan, author of Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System

“Maggie Callanan is one of the most experienced, smart and fierce hospice nurses I know. Her insights ring true, and her wise, confident voice is an invaluable companion through this unfamiliar and often frightening final journey.”—Ira Byock, M.D., Professor of Palliative Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School and author of Dying Well and The Four Things That Matter Most

“Filled with warmth, insight, compassion, and personal stories, Final Journeys will prepare you for your own transition, and it is must reading for everyone who has relatives and loved ones who are aging, seriously ill, or dying.”—Bill Guggenheim, co-author of Hello from Heaven!

About the Author

Maggie Callanan, R.N., has specialized in the care of the dying since 1981. She lectures widely to lay and professional audiences on death and dying, bereavement, and hospice care. Maggie is the author of Final Journeys and co-author of Final Gifts. She lives on the New England coast.

More About the Author

Maggie Callanan, R.N., has specialized in the care of the dying since 1981. She lectures widely to lay and professional audiences on death and dying, bereavement, and hospice care.

Maggie is the author of Final Journeys and co-author of Final Gifts. She was the first coordinator and contributing author of the "Dealing with Death" column in the American Journal of Nursing.

In 1995, she was named the Hospice Clinician of the Year and received the prestigious National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's "Heart of Hospice" award. She lives on the New England coast.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Maggie Callanan stands for all that the wonderful hospice nurses are.
Barbara Watson
I read Ms. Callanan's first book, Final Gifts, several years ago and it gave me great insight into how I could better relate to someone who is dying.
R. A. Pflaum
For everyone who will one day die and wants to be as ready as possible.
Nancy E. Bush

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. Bush on April 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In her breakthrough book, Final Gifts, hospice nurse Maggie Callanan and co-author Patricia Kelley explored the "nearing death awareness" of last days. That book continues to be for many readers a revelation of what last moments may be like. Final Journeys takes a longer view, becoming a travelers' guide for living from the diagnosis of a terminal illness through to nearing death awareness and on to the last breath.

Like the author herself, Final Journeys is intensely practical and straightforward, flashed with humor and warmed by an all-pervasive empathy. A sampling of chapter titles hints of honest looks at difficult questions: "Don't Tell Mom She's Dying. It'll Kill Her!"; "Choosing Treatments--and Knowing Which Are Optional"; "`We Can't Just Let Him Starve to Death!': Deciding About Artificial Nutrition"; "Finding Power in a Powerless Situation"; "I Love You, Mom, and I Want to Help, but I'm Not Moving to Miami!"

From recognizing what's fixable and what's not...understanding when not to call 911...talking to the children...dealing with the out-of-town family member who swoops in ready to take charge...to an explanation of the Medicare hospice benefit and the dying person's Bill of Rights--what Callanan does is make the unthinkable manageable.

Who is this book for? For everyone who will one day die and wants to be as ready as possible. For anyone who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and for the family members and friends of that person who wonder what to expect and how to cope. For anyone who thinks calling hospice is equivalent to "giving up." For every public library (I have already suggested that my library order two). For hospice and palliative care volunteers.

Readers who have been enthusiastic about Final Gifts--and who isn't?
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Pflaum on April 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Of all the stages in life, that of dying appears to be the most difficult: emotions run high, tempers flare, accusations fly, tears flow all the time, or is that just my family? Seriously, it can be such a chaotic and emotional time that I think it is very easy to lose track of what can be most important: understanding the dying person's process, and coming to terms with that process.

I read Ms. Callanan's first book, Final Gifts, several years ago and it gave me great insight into how I could better relate to someone who is dying. In this book she really addresses the dying process from the side of the caregiver, and I couldn't thank her more. I read this as my own father was dying and I think I used something from every chapter to help my father pass a little more comfortably, and to help keep my family and me from going crazy with stress.

I would encourage people to read this book. Even if you don't know someone who is dying, you never know when this sort of info will turn out to be needed. God bless.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. T. Englehart on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Along with her first book, "Final Gifts", this latest work is required reading for anyone - and there are many, many of us out there - facing the issue of elder-care and the loss of a partner or loved one. There is a certain sensitivity in "Final Journeys" that is important and based on the author's years of work as a nurse in Hospice. Important book to read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Linda Wolfe on June 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When dealing with end-of-life issues, many people have found Maggie Callanan's (co-authored) book, Final Gifts, to be both comforting and inspirational. She has now followed up with its "prequel," Final Journeys. As before, Callanan combines a wealth of practical experience in Hospice nursing with her own remarkable blend of compassion and humor. Anyone who faces the passing of a loved one really must read this book; anyone consciously facing their own passing will hope that Callanan - or her clone! - can attend them at the end.

One of the most useful aspects is her description of symptoms of the end of life that are typical, yet which we might not recognize and respect for what they are. As the author makes clear, there is no one path for the final journey, and it behooves those nearby to recognize and respect the style of their loved one. For example, in an attempt to "be there for them" it is possible to tire the patient with too much attention, as they are attempting to rest and "wind down." Equally, it is necessary to recognize when they may need to see a certain person in order to accomplish the task of closure and resolving "unfinished business" with that person. It is necessary to listen closely to the patient without one's preconceived notions intervening. Spiritual, dietary, and companionship needs vary widely depending on the patient; it's truly not "one size fits all."

Callanan defines a problem that I and perhaps many of us have experienced: the feeling that your loved ones will find it terribly sad, almost impossible, to go on with their lives without us when we die.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Karam on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
An outstanding source of information and support for the elderly, their caregivers, and family members ... what to expect and how to cope physically and emotionally at every stage of dying. There's also lots of practical information about advance directives, benefits, and resources. In my aunt's final years, I benefitted from neighbor and hospice nurse Maggie Callanan's personal guidance. Now her book is available to help everyone. I highly recommend it.
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