2009; Volume 10, No 5, May

Roger Woodruff, MD


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Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Meet Roberto Wenk, MD, the Chair of IAHPC

Article of the Month, by Carla Ripamonti, MD (Italy)

Traveling Fellow’s Report - Siberia by Maureen Gill (UK)

Traveling Scholar’s Report - Uruguay by Eve Namisango (Uganda)

Palliative Care in Oncology - Russia by Olga Usenko (USA)

Regional Report from Saudi Arabia by Mohammad Zafir Al-Shahri, MD (Saudi Arabia)

Palliative Care Book of the Month and Book Reviews by Dr. Roger Woodruff (Australia)

Call for Presentations – M.D. Anderson Conference, USA



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Palliative Care Book of the Month


Lesley K. Bowker, James D. Price and Sarah C. Smith

Oxford University Press, 2006
763 pp
ISBN 0-19-853029-3
RRP £27.95 $US49.95

People working in palliative care often need a bit of help when faced with complex clinical problems relating to oncology or geriatrics and it is useful to have a specialist book to which one can refer.  Well, here is the book on geriatrics that I would recommend for any palliative care service.  This pocket size text is packed with information with lots of lists.  The information is clearly set out and easy to scan.  It covers all the problems that are likely to be encountered in a geriatric population and is very clinically practical.  Particularly useful are the ‘How to…’ boxes that set out very clearly how to do certain assessments or manage certain symptoms; I am pleased to report that I passed the Amsler Grid screening test.

This very impressive little book would be a most useful resource on any palliative care service.

Roger Woodruff
(April 2009)


Book Reviews

A Clinical Guide

Simon I.R. Noble, Miriam J. Johnson and Agnes Y.Y. Lee (eds)

Oxford University Press 2009
181 pp
ISBN 978-0-19-923204-9
RRP £29.95 $US59.95

Venous thromboembolism is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality in the palliative care setting, particularly in patients with advanced cancer.  This book provides an up-to-date summary of what we know about the pathophysiology, diagnosis and clinical management of venous thromboembolism and addresses some important questions with regard to palliative care.  Do the clinical guidelines for anticoagulation, developed for other patient populations, apply to patients receiving palliative care?  Who should be considered for anticoagulation?  What is the evidence for anticoagulation with low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) rather than warfarin?  The final chapter deals with venous thromboembolism in advanced non-malignant diseases.  This is a very useful summary of what we know about venous thromboembolism in the palliative care setting and would be a useful reference when addressing clinical problems.


Inspiring approaches to living and dying

Maria Hoaglund

Finch Publishing, 2009
264 pp
ISBN 978 1876 451899
RRP $AU29.95 $US 40.00 £18.00

Maria Hoaglund is a trained minister who now works as a counsellor in palliative care.  She says that many people in our materially focused societies wait until the last minutes of life to talk about death.  Her thesis is that thinking about death before the last few moments can enhance the meaningfulness and quality of one’s life.  The book consists of a wide range of religious, non-religious and spiritual suggestions, stories, resources, poems and prayers to help one do this.  The book includes a good description of many of the complementary therapies.  Compassionately written, it includes some serious stuff including a script for a before-death meditation.  This book would be useful to anyone wanting to explore their own spiritual dimensions or having to deal with the spiritual issues of a loved one’s terminal illness. But, I might read it just a little bit at a time.


Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association

Kendall/Hunt Publishing

RRP $US35.00 each or $US210.00 for the set of 7.
Available via www.hpna.org

This is a set of seven little booklets, or pamphlets, produced by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association that provide a guide to the disease processes and their assessment and management of non-cancer diagnoses likely to be encountered in hospice and palliative care.  The titles include Dementia, Heart Failure, Hepatic, Neurological/Trauma, HIV/AIDS, Pulmonary, and Renal. 

I reviewed Hepatic.  I appreciated its brevity (21 pp) and the material was well set out.  At the same time, there is room for improvement.  The description of the Child/Pugh Classification and the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) was begging for a table to show you how to calculate a score for the patient you have just encountered. 

I think these books are a good idea and provide a sound basic overview of the non-cancer diagnoses.  For what they are (based on the one I have seen), I think that they are a bit over-priced.  Perhaps HPNA should take a leaf out of IAHPC’s book and make these volumes available at a discounted price for people in resource-poor developing countries. 


Roger Woodruff
(April 2009)

Note for authors: If you wish to have your book reviewed, please send to:

Dr Roger Woodruff
IAHPC Bookshop Editor
210 Burgundy St, Suite 9
Heidelberg, Victoria 3084

Note: Review copies become property of IAHPC and are not returned to the author. Only palliative care related books which are previously approved will be reviewed. Due to the large number of requests, we can't provide exact dates of when books will be reviewed.

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