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The Lost Art of Caring: A Challenge to Health Professionals, Families, Communities, and Society

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Overview


The need for caring has always been part of the human condition. It consists of a wide range of responses to our vulnerabilities – compassion, comfort, empathy, sympathy, kindness, tenderness, listening, support, and being there. Whether provided by families, friends, communities, or health professionals, caring helps us to bear pain, suffering, and disability and to regain our physical, psychological, and social functioning. Yet, in recent decades, changes in the organization, financing, and delivery of health care, the education of health professionals, and the nature of family and community life have eroded our capacities to be caring.
In The Lost Art of Caring, Leighton E. Cluff, M.D., and Robert H. Binstock, Ph.D., bring together experts to address the importance of caring, the reasons that it has eroded, and measures that can strengthen caring as provided by health professionals, families, communities, and society. The first section of the book reviews the elements of caring and the populations in need of it. The second section portrays the historical changes in medical practice and education that have undermined caring, and the constraints on caring in institutional settings, in homes and other community-based settings, and on caring provided by voluntary organizations. It also delineates the challenges to be met if the art of caring is to be improved in contemporary society. The final section puts forward a model for appraising the success of caring, as well as an analysis of the ways in which the United States is and is not a caring society with respect to the health of its people.
The Lost Art of Caring will be of great interest to health careprofessionals, families, policy makers and researchers in health policy, gerontology, medical sociology, and biomedical ethics. It will also serve as an important primary or secondary text in schools of medicine, nursing, public health, allied health professions, and social work.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Contributors from public health, social work, medicine, and other fields explain why it is important to attend to people's spiritual and psychological as well as physical needs, and offer suggestions on how to go about it. Among the topics are vulnerability and illness, a history of caring in medicine, caring in institutional settings, and appraising the success of caring. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: John L Shuster, MD (University of Alabama)
Description: This is a compilation of writings on caring, defined as the "focus on the humane and palliative aspects of health care that contribute to an individual's quality of life." An expert panel of contributors explores caring from a wide variety of historical, political, and contextual perspectives and discusses the connections between caring and related topics such as caregiving and healthcare.
Purpose: The purposes of the book are "to draw increased attention to the integral role of caring in health care, as well as to contemporary forces that seem to downgrade caring or make it difficult to undertake." As technological advances in healthcare move medicine toward an increasing emphasis on procedural care, this book is an important reminder about the role of caring in a healthcare system that aims to be effective and valued by society. The book meets the editors' objectives well.
Audience: The contributors are certainly credible authorities on the subject. The editors state that the intended audience includes healthcare professionals, students and administrators, policymakers, as well as laypeople (including family members and caregivers). The book is probably beyond the interest level of most laypeople, but would be accessible to an interested layperson and is certainly appropriate for others in the intended audience.
Features: The book covers the concept of caring in fine and helpful detail. The historical and political roots of caring are discussed, as is the coverage of caring in medical education. Chapters are devoted to caring in a variety of settings (institutional and community-based settings, community-based volunteer organizations). Caring in the mental health setting gets specific attention in one of the book's chapters as well. Each of the chapters is a concise but thorough review of one aspect of caring. The writing style results in a readable and informative book.
Assessment: This is a valuable and important contribution. This book is accessible and readable enough to serve as an excellent introduction to medical aspects of caring. It is also authoritative enough to serve as a valuable reference source for experts. The book covers an important and neglected topic. I hope it will be widely read by leaders in healthcare.
Journal of the American Medical Association
The text is chock full of the thoughts of some of America's leading experts on the caring side of health care. This book should be read by any health care professional with an interest in this dimension of health care and is a must read for the medical community. A marvelous text.

— Joseph A. LiebermanIII, M.D.M.P.H.

Health Progress
On the whole, this volume deepens our understanding and appreciation of the importance of caring for all who are in need of personal attention and assistance when ill and disabled. The contributors seem to have given much thought to their chapters, weaving together personal stories, clinical experiences, research findings, and proposals for change.

— Else M. Kiefer

Pharos
A remarkable broad and well-integrated package of philosophy and fact, a valuable and compact resource for health care professionals, as well as legislators and social scientists.

— John A. Benson, Jr., M.D.

Journal of the American Medical Association - Joseph A. LiebermanIII
The text is chock full of the thoughts of some of America's leading experts on the caring side of health care. This book should be read by any health care professional with an interest in this dimension of health care and is a must read for the medical community. A marvelous text.
Health Progress - Else M. Kiefer
On the whole, this volume deepens our understanding and appreciation of the importance of caring for all who are in need of personal attention and assistance when ill and disabled. The contributors seem to have given much thought to their chapters, weaving together personal stories, clinical experiences, research findings, and proposals for change.
Pharos - John A. Benson
A remarkable broad and well-integrated package of philosophy and fact, a valuable and compact resource for health care professionals, as well as legislators and social scientists.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801874437
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Leighton E. Cluff, M.D., is a professor emeritus at the University of Florida College of Medicine and former president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Robert H. Binstock, Ph.D., is a professor of Aging, Health, and Society at Case Western Reserve University. They are co-editors, with Otto von Mering, of The Future of Long-Term Care, also available from Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

I Caring and the Populations in Need of It
Our Need for Caring: Vulnerability and Illness
Who Needs Caring?
Caring and Mental Illness
II The Provisions of Caring
A History of Caring in Medicine
Forces Affecting Caring by Physicians
Caring and Medical Education
Caring in Institutional Settings
Home and Community-Based Care: Toward a Caring Paradigm
Caring and Community-Based Voluntary Organizations
III Assessments of Caring
Appraising the Success of Caring
The Politics of Caring
AUTHOR BIO:
Leighton E. Cluff, M.D., is a professor emeritus at the University of Florida College of Medicine and former president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Robert H. Binstock, Ph.D., is a professor of Aging, Health, and Society at Case Western Reserve University. They are co-editors, with Otto von Mering of The Future of Long-Term Care, also available from Johns Hopkins.
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