Written for caregivers as well as the dying, Handbook for Mortals is an excellent resource for anyone facing the end of life. Authors Joanne Lynn, M.D., and Joan Harrold, M.D., offer sensitive and practical advice for the ambiguous final stage of a life-threatening illness--when hope for a recovery is waning and the patient and family members are turning toward a different horizon, that of accepting and supporting an imminent death. For the most part, the authors focus on physical concerns such as pain management, artificial feeding, and an especially poignant passage about assisted suicide.
Because of their backgrounds, the authors are also comfortable discussing the emotional complexities of dying, such as offering advice on giving and receiving forgiveness and resolving conflicts in close relationships. (Lynn is director of the Center to Improve Care of the Dying at George Washington University and Harrold is medical director of a Pennsylvania hospice.) The handbook offers many sidebars, including "Words to Try" when speaking with a sick person: instead of saying, "Dad, you are going to be just fine," the authors suggest saying, "Dad, are there some things that worry you?" Proceeds from the sale of the book support Americans for Better Care of the Dying, a national charitable organization devoted to improving care for the last stage of life. --Gail Hudson
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Designed for caregivers as well as patients, this book combines insights and inspiration with practical information and sensible suggestions for coping with critical, debilitating illnesses and the attendant problems such as accepting a new lifestyle, controlling pain, getting help, deciding on medical treatment, and enduring a loss. The death of a child, sudden death as the result of an accident, and similarly atypical instances are discussed briefly. Throughout, there are poignant excerpts from literature and case descriptions. Appendixes list organizations and sources of further information or assistance. Constance Joness R.I.P.: The Complete Book of Death and Dying (HarperCollins, 1997), which includes statistics, varying cultural practices, and more information resources, covers the topic more comprehensively. Nevertheless, this handbook, edited by the director of the Center To Improve Care for the Dying (http://www.gwu.edu/~cicd), exudes a compassion and warmth that will appeal to individual readers.Margaret Norden, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, VA
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