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A Few Months to Live describes what dying is like from the perspectives of nine terminally ill individuals and their caregivers. Documenting a unique study of end-of-life experiences that included detailed conversations in home care settings, the book focuses on how participants lived their daily lives, understood their illnesses, coped with symptoms-especially pain-and searched for meaning or spiritual growth in their final months of life. The accounts are presented largely in the participants' own words, illuminating both the medical and non-medical challenges that arose from the time each learned the "bad news" through their final days of life and memorial services.
Describing the nationwide crisis that surrounds end-of-life care, the authors contend that informal caregiving by relatives and close friends is an enormous and too-often invisible resource that deserves close and public attention. By incorporating not only the ill person's but also the family's perspective, they portray the nine participants in the contexts of their daily lives and relationships rather than simply as patients. Addressing such issues as palliative care, quality of life, financial hardship, grief and loss, and communications with medical personnel, the authors identify how families, professionals, and communities can respond to the challenges of terminal illness and the need to confront life's end.
|2||Communicating about Death and Dying||23|
|3||Planning and Choices||57|
|4||Professional Care and Doctor-Patient Communication||89|
|5||Knowledge of Illness and Attitudes toward Pain and Death||111|
|6||Daily Life and Meaningful Activities||135|
|7||Family Caregiving Experience||173|
|8||Support and Lack of Support for Family Caregivers||215|
|9||Personal Growth, Meaning, and Spirituality||239|
|10||The Final Days of Life||271|
|11||Memorials at the End of Life||289|
|12||Some Directions for Understanding the End of Life||301|
|App. A||The Missoula Demonstration Project Baseline Research||319|
|App. B||Research Methodology for Studying Participants' Perspectives on the End of Life||325|