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From The CriticsReviewer: Julie A Warren, RN, MSN, CCRN (Presbyterian Healthcare Services)
Description: The author provides an overview of religious and cultural factors that influence parental refusal for healthcare. She includes personal accounts from nurses and parents, historical and legal perspectives, and provides ethnographic research examples of treatment refusal decisions.
Purpose: The author's intention is to "accurately describe the perspectives and beliefs of various religious and cultural groups on medical care, as well as provide reports from lawyers, researchers, and academics — all without malice, judgment, or persecution." Not only does the author succeed in meeting her objectives, this book should be required reading for all healthcare professionals.
Audience: Although this book is written primarily for those in the nursing profession, all healthcare professionals will benefit. As a pediatric oncology nurse who has faced the challenges of parental refusal of treatment, and as a tenured professor, the author is a credible authority.
Features: This review of the religious and cultural influences on pediatric healthcare treatment decisions includes perspectives from healthcare, the legal community, religious leaders, and from families who have refused treatment for their children. Several useful appendixes include guidelines for staff facing parental refusal of pediatric treatment, resources, a concise list of reasons for parental refusal, and additional information concerning sects and cults.
Assessment: This is a must-read book for all pediatric healthcare professionals and students. Although cultural sensitivity is an expectation in healthcare today, this book reveals how much we have to learn and gives us some tools for much needed improvement.