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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Melody L. McKinney, DNS, RN (Indiana State University)
Description: This palliative care handbook is an introductory guide for providing end-of-life care for the person with cancer and bereavement care for the family. The third edition contains updated information, new chapters on disease-modifying treatments, and Internet resources.
Purpose: This book was written to assure that all professionals involved in end-of-life care are familiar with the basic principles of palliative care, including the knowledge and management of common symptoms and psychosocial needs.
Audience: The targeted audience is nurses, but the book should be useful for all healthcare professionals and volunteers involved in palliative care.
Features: The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 contains six chapters covering symptom management related to pain, breathlessness, edema, confusion, and other significant symptoms. Chemotherapy, radiation, endocrine agents, biological agents, and radiopharmaceuticals are discussed as disease-modifying treatments to prolong survival or manage symptoms. Part 2 contains six chapters covering the management of psychosocial needs including emotional and spiritual pain, sexuality and intimacy, and nutritional care. The use of complementary therapies for end-of-life care, and bereavement strategies for formal and informal caregivers are also described. Part 3 consists of four chapters covering nursing's unique contribution in palliative care, including a historical perspective, reflective practice, and managing change/setting standards. Part 3 ends with the special needs of children and adolescents. Part 4 contains four chapters that examine ethical issues and future directions in palliative care.
Assessment: This well-indexed handbook on palliative care is an excellent introductory guide for the multidisciplinary team to provide quality end-of-life care for the cancer patient and bereavement care for the family. Relevant quotations eloquently open each chapter and set the tone for the information that follows. Although the information is introductory and practical, extensive references for additional inquiry make it a valuable resource for both the novice and professional. A third edition is justified by updated information, new chapters on disease-modifying treatments, and Internet resources. Distinctly U.K. spellings (e.g., oedema) may be disconcerting to some U.S. readers but do not detract from the book's overall value. The soft cover may lack durability for the book's potential usefulness.