Book and CD Reviews
Dr. Woodruff, MD
The Table of Contents for each book reviewed is available in the Bookshop at www.hospicecare.com/Bookstore
Book Reviews Cd Reviews
HELPING GRIEVING PEOPLE When Tears Are Not Enough
A Handbook for Care Providers
J. Shep Jeffreys
RRP $US39.95, £26.99
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This is a remarkable book. Starting with the observation that grief is a universal phenomenon amongst human beings that cannot be fixed or cured, we are led to the concept of the caregiver as an ‘exquisite witness’ whose work involves ‘heart, head and hand’ dimensions. An exquisite witness is defined as a caregiver who enters the sacred space between two human souls. The ‘exquisite’ nature of the interaction is measured in terms of respect, care, honesty and the ability to truly hear and understand the grieving person’s anger and confusion. The term ‘witness’ directs the care provider to understand that the grief journey belongs to the grieving person.
The ‘heart’ dimension is about the care provider’s self-awareness and their own unfinished losses, which need to be recognized and dealt with before one can effectively help the grieving. The ‘head’ dimension is concerned with understanding the complexities of human grief. The ‘hand’ dimension covers the whole range of interventions available to the care provider. In other words, this guidebook for caregivers covers both caring for self whilst offering the best possible care for those grieving.
The early chapters cover the social and cultural context of grief, the grief response, the grief of children, and that of parents. There is a chapter on the grief associated with chronic illness and disability and with terminal illness. Abnormal and distorted grief reactions are also dealt with.
The text is comprehensive and all the problems we are likely to encounter are discussed. It is well written and clearly set out with many bullet-point lists. There are numerous clinical anecdotes, self-awareness exercises for our heart dimension, and numerous care provider boxes containing a plethora of general suggestions for our hand dimension. Drawing on years of clinical experience, Dr. Jeffreys has given us an invaluably practical guide to helping grieving people.
PALLIATIVE MEDICINE – A Case Based Manual 2nd edition.
Neil MacDonald, Doreen Oneschuk, Neil Hagen and Derek Doyle (Eds)
Oxford University Press 2005
RRP £24.95 $US45.
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The second edition of Neil MacDonald’s case-based manual of palliative care, with a foreword by Derek Doyle, brings a wealth of knowledge and perspective to the teaching and practice of palliative care. The list of contributors includes many well known names from the Canadian palliative care scene. The major problems in palliative care are addressed in an interactive and challenging manner that commands your attention. This edition contains new chapters on non-malignant disease as well informatics and research issues in palliative care.
This book will be a valuable resource to anyone involved with palliative care and particularly useful to those of us involved in teaching.
PALLIATIVE CARE FOR THE CHILD WITH MALIGNANT DISEASE
The West Midlands Paediatric Macmillan Team
Quay Books 2005
This book describes the experience and practices of the West Midlands Paediatric Macmillan Team (WMPMT), written by seven of the Paediatric Macmillan Nurses. Chapters describe the models and organization of care and the overlap between active and palliative treatment in paediatric care. There is a good chapter about communication. The middle section of the book deals with symptom management and there is a good table of recommended drug doses for all the commonly used medications. Chapter 6 deals with practical considerations in paediatric end-of-life care and chapter 7 deals with the challenges of caring for adolescent patients. It contains an interesting section on sexual activity that would have been most useful when I had to counsel a determined 15-year-old girl with terminal lymphoma some years ago. The final chapter is about dealing with the stress of paediatric palliative care.
Anyone who works in paediatric palliative care will benefit from reading about the practices and experience of this team.
Room 217. Music for Life’s Journey
- SPIRIT WINGS
- GENTLE WATERS
- CELTIC WHISPERINGS
Available from http://www.room217.ca (site is secure, international shipping available)
Price $CAN 19.99 each, plus shipping
‘Music is a powerful medium of comfort, communication and connection for the human spirit. In end of life situations it can be an invaluable support for one in transition and for caregivers at the bedside. Timeless melodies can reassure troubled hearts and reach into the depth of souls.’
These three CDs by Canadian musician Bev Foster have been produced specifically for use in end-of-life care. I found them to be a wonderful collection of tastefully arranged music that is so soothing. The celtic blood in me certainly responded to all the traditional favorites in Whisperings. But I most enjoyed the instrumental only Gentle Waters, which combines Bev Foster’s piano with the beautiful warm sound of a solo cello that Wendy Solomon makes sing.
I think these CDs will be very useful in the palliative care setting and I have ordered a set for my ward. They’re already downloaded onto my personal iPod.
Director of Palliative Care, Austin Health,