2011; Volume 12, No 05, May

Roger Woodruff, MD


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Palliative Care Book of the Month and other Reviews

Palliative Care Book of the Month


Joanne Wolfe, Pamela Hinds and Barbara Sourkes (Eds)

Saunders (Elsevier), 2011
492 pp
ISBN 978-1-4377-0262-0
RRP $US99.00, £67.00.

This book is written by and for interdisciplinary clinicians who care for children and adolescents living with life-threatening conditions. The introductory section, Setting the Stage, includes chapters covering most aspects of the practice, goals and management of interdisciplinary pediatric palliative care.  The second section, Relationships, includes chapters exploring the human connection that is the essence of pediatric palliative care.  The third section deals with pain and symptom control.  The last section has chapters on palliative care for non-malignant conditions and the integration of palliative care into pediatric oncology.  The coverage seems comprehensive and adequately referenced.  There is the Elsevier bonus of having access to an electronically searchable full text on-line.

This book invites comparison with Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children (OUP, 2006).  However, as one who has not worked in pediatric palliative care, I did not feel qualified to make the comparison.  The interdisciplinary focus of the new book sets it apart and it is probably true to say that both volumes should be on the bookshelf in hospices that care for children.  I was pleasantly surprised by the modest price for the Elsevier volume, which is a big glossy production with a searchable text to boot.


Dr. Roger Woodruff
(April 2011)


Other Reviews


Bev Walker.  Room217

Playing Time 61:32
Available at www.room217.ca

I very much enjoyed this ninth album of music for palliative care (‘Music for Life’s Journey’) from Beth Foster’s group at Room217.  I think it is their best album yet.  A collection of World War II songs and jazz standards, gently and very tastefully presented, they are about love, loyalty and devotion.  My father sang some of the wartime songs when I was a child, and one has to be grateful that my generation missed that period of grief and loss and separation.  The disk has been sitting in my computer for a couple of weeks and provides a calm and soothing background as I go about other tasks.  I think the content of presentation would be both suitable and appropriate in the palliative care setting. 



Julian Hughes, Mari Lloyd-Williams and Greg Sachs (Eds)

Oxford University Press, 2010
313 ppISBN 978-0-19-955413-3
RRP £65.00, $US110.00

This is the sixth volume in the OUP Supportive Care Series.  It is about applying the principles and philosophy of person-centred palliative care to the management, at all stages of the disease, of persons with dementia and their care-givers.  There are good chapters on the clinical features of dementia of differing aetiology and chapters dealing with numerous aspects of care and care-settings.  The supportive/palliative approach to persons with dementia feels right, although as one with little personal experience in the field, I am unsure how much of a quantum change it is from ‘standard’ care.  If your work involves significant numbers of people with dementia then this book, which is clinically very practical, will provide you with support and a lot to reflect upon as to how the care you deliver might be improved. 

I read with interest the chapter on dementia care in The Netherlands.  In the 1990s, a commission of the Royal Dutch Medical Association, in which nursing home physicians/specialists in elderly medicine were not invited to participate, made recommendations essentially facilitating the practice of euthanasia.  In response, the Dutch Association of Nursing Home Physicians formulated their own policy in which they veered from the Slope and ‘emphatically’ opted for a palliative care model. 


What Clinicians Need to Know

Sara Qualls and Julia Kasl-Godley (Eds)

John Wiley and Sons, 2011
342 pp
ISBN 978-0-470-40693-9
RRP $US60.00, £42.50

This is an informative and practical guide to the issues involved in end-of-life care, whether they are the needs of the patient and family or matters that are of concern to professionals or institutions.  It focuses on end-of-life care for our ageing population and is primarily directed at mental health professionals.  But much of what is written is applicable to adults of any age and I think it should have a much wider audience than just mental health professionals.  I think it would be of interest to palliative care professionals and to anyone involved with end-of-life care for older adults.  There are good discussions on spirituality and meaning, advance care planning, grief and bereavement, professional self-care, and changing attitudes and behaviours (with regard to end-of-life care) in communities. I like the book because it was clinically practical, written by practicing clinicians, with due regard to the evidence base (such that it is), but without any long-winded discussion of theory.

I particularly liked Canetto’s clear dissection of the ‘model statute’ that underpins Oregon’s Assisted Suicide legislation, showing it to be ‘far from being carefully crafted.’

Dr. Roger Woodruff
(April 2011)


Dr. Roger Woodruff (Australia). Dr. Woodruff is a Lifetime member of the IAHPC board and his bio may be found at http://www.hospicecare.com/Bio/r_woodruff.htm

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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