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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marlene S. Foreman, BSN, MN (Hospice of Acadiana, Inc.)
Description: This book covers a broad spectrum of social problems impacting end-of-life-care, including environment, culture, finance, and expectations of the healthcare team. Diversity in age and living situations, and disease processes are discussed. The first edition was published in 2004 and significant societal changes have occurred since then, making this update necessary.
Purpose: It is intended not only to discuss social issues, but to discuss them in the context of palliative care. Specific treatment modalities are interspersed with palliative care options. It is designed to identify weaknesses in the current provision of palliative care in order to encourage discussion of these issues and possibly present solutions. These lofty objectives are met in this book. Professionals should read and discuss the issues this book presents.
Audience: It is intended for palliative care professionals, especially those who provide care, as well as the policy makers and law makers. The editors and contributors have a wealth of knowledge to share and have produced an awesome book.
Features: Included in the discussions are such topics as historical perspectives of dying and death in Western society, communication, needs of the elderly, needs of the dying, and needs of special groups. Some of these special groups, such as the homeless, travelers, and gypsies, are not covered well in other books. Each chapter ends with pertinent references. The index is broad and quite sufficient.
Assessment: I have been involved in hospice since its early days, even before it became available in my geographic area and I have read numerous books on death and dying. Some attempt to discuss societal and cultural issues, but this book is designed to discuss the social issues of palliative care and, therefore, is more thorough in its presentation. The information is very current and is thoughtfully compiled. This is a much-needed asset in the field of palliative care.