Callanan (coauthor, Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying) has worked for more than 25 years as a hospice nurse; here, she aims to offer the dying and those close to them practical advice grounded in that experience. Interspersing stories from her work and life, she examines such topics as potential family conflicts, ethical dilemmas faced by health-care workers, and the various stages of the grieving process. She emphasizes that the terminally ill should be listened to with care and compassion and that their right to comfort should not be overlooked in sometimes futile attempts to prolong life. She also stresses the need for early discussion of end-of-life issues and the documentation of any decisions reached. The advice is unblinking and useful, but it is surrounded by an excess of fairly artificial re-created dialogs. Further, some readers might find the forays into subjects like afterlife communication to be at odds with the goal of providing useful and practical advice. Dennis McCullough's My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing "Slow Medicine," the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Onesoffers similar information. Recommended for large public libraries.
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