Hospice Palliative Care
Dr. Woodruff, MD
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OXFORD TEXTBOOK OF PALLIATIVE CARE FOR CHILDREN
Ann Goldman, Richard Hain and Stephen Liben (Eds)
Oxford University Press, 2006
RRP £85, $US165
Following in the footsteps of OTPM, here is a comprehensive textbook covering all aspects of paediatric palliative care. There are 66 contributors, mostly from the UK and North America with a few from Europe, Australasia and South Africa .
The first section (‘Foundations of Care’) provides a background and overview of paediatric palliative care as well as chapters on communication and ethics. The second section (‘Child and Family Care’) covers all the different aspects of the psychological, social and spiritual care, both for the sick child or adolescent and also their family. The third section (‘Symptom Care’) has chapters on the management of pain and other physical symptoms seen in paediatric palliative care. The last section (‘Delivery of Care’) has chapters describing the practical issues involved in the delivery of palliative care as well as quality assurance, education and training, and research. The text is well referenced throughout and there is a useful index.
The specialty of paediatric palliative care is barely 25 years old and this book is a testament to how far it has developed. Regarding all the medical, psychological and practical issues in caring for terminally ill children and their families, I could not help feeling that we have it easy in adult palliative care. Like its adult counterpart, this book will be the gold standard for paediatric palliative care and deserves a place in every department of paediatrics and hospices that care for children.
NARRATIVE, PAIN, AND SUFFERING
Daniel B. Carr, John D. Loeser and David B. Morris (Eds)
IASP Press, 2005
RRP $US89.00 £114 (?)
Narrative medicine? Narrative not as an engrossing tale, but as a complex and subtle process rooted in the neurobiology of self-representation, emotion, and social interaction. Having spent a lot of time scrutinizing the evidence base for palliative medicine and the management of chronic pain, I have to admit that I did not know much about narrative medicine and this book came as breath of fresh air.
This volume contains 24 essays written by leading contributors in neurobiology, integrative physiology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, clinicians from developed and developing countries, together with writers and journalists who participated in a three-day workshop held in 2003 in Bellagio, Italy. They address all aspects of narrative medicine and its application to the management of patients with chronic pain, from the underlying science to the social and biocultural perspective to clinical application. The proponents of narrative medicine are asking the question whether the goal is to relieve pain or to relieve the person’s suffering including their pain. If the latter is our goal, then evidence-based medicine and clinical practice guidelines are not enough and this volume presents a convincing case that narrative medicine is the means to capture that extra dimension.
This book will be both useful and interesting to anybody involved in the management of patients with chronic pain and to anyone who works in palliative care.
BEING A CANCER PATIENT’S CARER – A Guide
Wesley C. Finnigan
Radcliffe Publishing, 2005
RRP 14.95, $US 29.95
For the average person, being a carer for somebody with cancer can be a daunting experience. Here is a practical guide that I think would be genuinely useful for the lay person, written by a former palliative care physician, who also has the insight of having been a cancer patient himself and has more recently cared for his wife when she developed cancer. The setout is appealing and makes the information accessible. The book covers most of the physical and psychological problems that are likely to be encountered and each section is divided into sections that provide basic information, how to think through the issues that arise, what and whom to ask for more information, what to note, what to do, and how to get more information. Two chapters near the beginning of the book are specifically about the carer taking care of themselves. The book is said to encourage the carer to work with the patient, doctors and nurses to achieve realistic and mutually agreed outcomes. The availability of this very useful and practical manual should be made widely known through oncology and palliative care services, where I think it would greatly reduce the anxiety and burden that many of the carers of our patients feel.
THE BOYS: Or, waiting for the Electrician’s Daughter
Gaspereau Press, 2005
RRP $CAN25.95, $US22.95
Canadian poet, John Terpstra, relates the story of his wife’s family and the short lives of her three brothers, each of whom lived with muscular dystrophy until their early 20s. With humour, reverence and great love, Terpstra charts the experience of a family under unusual, but resoundingly human, circumstances. It is certainly thought provoking and Terpstra’s style makes it enjoyable to read.
SEND ME TULIPS
Prisma Press, 2005
RRP $US 23.95
This is a simple tale, colorfully illustrated, that celebrates the love and faith of marriage. It reminds us that, even in grief, the love continues. Described as being for anyone seeking nourishment of the soul, this book would provide comfort to someone recently bereaved.
Director of Palliative Care, Austin Health,
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