International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

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Promoting Hospice & Palliative Care Worldwide


2005; Volume 6, No 8, August



Many ways to help support palliative care.

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Message from the Chair & Executive Director:
Kathleen M. Foley, MD
Liliana De Lima, MHA

Tributes: To Dame Cicely Saunders

Article of the Month:
Dr. Ripamonti

Book Reviews:
Roger Woodruff, MD

IAHPC Board Member’s Page:Must Oncology be our Home?

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Editor's Notes:
Dr. William Farr

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Dr. Woodruff, MD

Note: The Table of Contents for each book reviewed is available in the Bookshop at

A Practical Handbook

Brian S. Carter and Marcia Levetown (Eds)
Johns Hopkins University Press 2004
399 pp
ISBN 0-8018-8005-X
RRP $US29.95, £21.50.
More Info & Purchase

In her Foreword, Dr. Kathleen Foley describes this volume as a ‘brilliant clinical handbook’ that ‘is a compendium of educational material uniquely edited to facilitate health care professionals’ understanding of how to think about, talk with, and practice caring for, the seriously ill child with competency and compassion.’  I agree.

The book is divided into three main sections.  The first deals with societal and institutional issues, the second with the practicalities of making holistic pediatric palliative care work, and the last with special patient populations including genetic conditions, HIV infection, and cancer.

With the exception of the chapter on health care professionals’ stress and care giver suffering, each chapter is written by multiple members of the interdisciplinary team, providing real insight into the way holistic pediatric palliative care should work.  Numerous short case reports are effectively woven into the text.  Anyone involved with pediatric palliative care will benefit from reading this book.

Highly recommended.



Marianne La Porte Matzo and Deborah Witt Sherman (Eds)
Mosby, 2004
ISBN 0-323-01990-0
RRP $US59, £27.
More Info & Purchase

This book focuses on promoting quality of life of older adult patients who have progressive, incurable illnesses in a holistic but individualized manner. 

The book is divided into three main sections.  The first is about promoting quality of life in the dying process.  The second is about disease-related palliative care nursing and includes chapters on end-stage cardiac, hepatic, pulmonary and renal disease.  The final part deals with symptom management.

I found the text user-friendly.  Case studies are usefully used to illustrate the text.  Key studies from the literature are summarized in boxes labeled Evidence-Based Practice.  The liberal use of tables improves access to the information.

This book should be a core text for any undergraduate or postgraduate nursing course that deals with the palliative care of older adults with life limiting illnesses.



Ruth B. Purtilo and Henk A.M.J. ten Have (Eds)
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004
368 pp
ISBN 0-8018-7870-5
RRP $US49.95, £35.50
More Info & Purchase

Dementia challenges all of the principles upon which Western medical ethics is based.  This thoughtful collection of essays by leading clinicians, ethicists, philosophers, and theologians from
North America and Europe was more than five years in the making.  First, the editors initiated a dialogue that lasted for at three years, following which each contributor’s essay was critiqued at a meeting in the Netherlands in 2001, after which the dialogue was continued for another two years before the final submissions were peer-reviewed.

The book is divided into six sections, which cover the clinical, philosophical, theological, ethical, organisational, and research aspects of dementia.  Some of the contributions have more questions than answers, although I was pleased to note that the contributor from The Netherlands who wrote the chapter on Alzheimer disease and euthanasia concluded that ‘euthanasia cannot be convincingly ethically justified in the treatment of persons with Alzheimer disease.’

This book will be useful and thought-provoking to anyone involved in the fields of dementia care, palliative care and bioethics.


Hospice/Palliative Care Training for Physicians

Porter Storey and Carol F. Knight
MaryAnn Liebert, 2003
8 booklets averaging 116 pp
Available from

Individual Booklets $US45 ($US55 outside USA)
Set of 8 Books with CD ROM $US199 ($US224 outside USA)

This is the second edition of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s (AAHPM) UNIPAC Self-Study Program in hospice and palliative care.  The booklets are well set out and follow the recommended format of self-instructional learning including a statement of the learning objectives, a pre-test, reading material, clinical situations for demonstrating knowledge application, a post-test, and references.

There are eight booklets in the series.

1.    The Hospice/Palliative Medicine Approach to End-of-Life Care
2.    Alleviating Psychological and Spiritual Pain in the Terminally Ill
3.    Assessment and Treatment of Pain in the Terminally Ill
4.    Management of Selected Non-Pain Symptoms in the Terminally Ill
5.    Caring for the Terminally Ill – Communication and the Physician’s Role on the Interdisciplinary Team
6.    Ethical and Legal Decision Making When Caring for the Terminally Ill
7.    The Hospice/Palliative Medicine Approach to Caring for Patients with HIV/AIDS
8.    The Hospice/Palliative Care Approach to Caring for Pediatric Patients.

I found these booklets enjoyable and user friendly.  The correct answers for the pre-tests and the questions asked in the clinical vignettes are given, but not those for the post-tests.  Provision of these answers would improve the booklets’ appeal outside
USA, whilst still allowing American Physicians to submit their answers (and money) to AAHPM for CME points.

These booklets are a valuable educational resource for anyone wishing to learn about palliative care or to refresh their knowledge.  They will be particularly valuable to anybody involved in teaching palliative care.

Roger Woodruff
Medical Oncologist and Director of Palliative Care,
Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia
(July 2005)

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