2009; Volume 10, No 7, July

Roger Woodruff, MD


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Palliative Care Book of the Month
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Palliative Care Book of the Month

A Nurse’s Guide to End-of-Life Care

Linda Norlander

Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, 2008
125 pp
ISBN 978-1-930538-73-3
RRP $US19.95 £13.40

This is an excellent primer for palliative care nursing.  Chapters cover advanced care planning, pain, physical symptoms, suffering, the final days and hours, bereavement, pediatric end-of-life care, cultural issues, and ethics.  Most of the chapters are divided into three parts: the nurse as a skilled clinician - the nurse as an advocate -and the nurse as a guide.  The material is well presented with a liberal use of lists.  Lists of common fears and how to address them, and frequently asked questions and how to answer them, are particularly useful.  I also liked the lists of what not to say at sensitive moments, together with what it would be more appropriate to say. 

My only criticism relates to the reference/resource lists.  I couldn’t find reference to the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine by Doyle et al., the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children by Goldman et al., Principles of Palliative Care and
Supportive Oncology (LWW), by Berger et al., etc, etc.

This book should be available on the library shelf of any palliative care service for anyone starting out in palliative care. And that’s not just for the nurses

Roger Woodruff
(June 2009)


Book Reviews

Illness, Dying, and Bereavement

Yasmin Gunaratnam and David Oliviere (Eds)

Oxford University Press, 2009
246 pp
ISBN 978-0-19-954669-5
RRP $US59.95 £29.95

The back cover informs that ‘the use of narrative methods has a long history in palliative care, pioneered by Dame Cicely Saunders.   Patient’s stories can be used to make sense of experiences of illness and care, to create and express meaning, to mediate and reconstruct identifications, and to encapsulate the complex relationships between the individual and their wider social and material contexts.  Modern palliative care encourages use empowerment and involvement in end-of-life care strategies, patient narratives becoming a powerful lobbying tool.’  That said, this book covers all aspects of clinical narratives with sections on concepts and approaches, services and care, and working with patients and carers.  The contributors are experts from the UK, USA, Australia and Canada and represent a diverse range of those working in the social sciences, medicine, theology and the creative arts.  Not light reading, but I found a lot of interesting material dipping here and there.



Robert Twycross

Beaconsfield Publishers, 2009
40 pp
ISBN 978-0-906584-61-3
RRP £9.50

The first edition of this monograph was published in 1984, when it was probably a much more important document in places like the UK and Australia, advocating and encouraging the use of morphine in patients with advanced cancer.  The material is presented as sixty-six questions and answers.  The information is essentially international in relevance and application and this edition provides a relatively cheap guide for those areas of the world where morphine is (slowly) becoming more available and/or is being used more frequently for patients with advanced cancer.



Georgia Simonis

AuthorHouse, 2009
172 pp
ISBN 978-1-4389-4059-5
RRP $US14.49

Robert Simonis was a hard-working lumberman who brought up 11 children.  When he died of cancer, the family refused to give up his body, in keeping with his dying wishes.  This led to the family home being under siege by the local police, led by an over-zealous coroner.  The female deputy coroner is a particular sweetie-pie.  Written by one of the daughters, this is the story of how the family coped and also about the awakening of spiritual awareness and the idea that the spirit does live on.

Roger Woodruff
(June 2009)

View over 100+IAHPC hospice & palliative care book reviews


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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