Reviewer: Davina C Porock, PhD (MU Sinclair School of Nursing)
Description: This is a compact guidebook to facilitate learning about end of life care for nursing home staff. It is structured into eight meaningful sessions with straightforward, practical information presented mainly in point form.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide useful instruction in providing end of life care for nursing home residents. The authors' intention is to provide evidence-based information in a manner that is appropriate to the level of education necessary for nursing home staff. The lack of education for nursing home staff in this area of care has been noted frequently in the literature. This book provides a timely contribution to this important problem.
Audience: The book is aimed at helping a nurse or other health professional to prepare educational sessions for nursing assistants. The authors bring a range of disciplines and practice backgrounds to the writing of the material and this provides good insight into the care of the dying resident from varying perspectives. This approach makes the book useful as an educational resource for group or individual use.
Features: The book covers the principal areas known to be problems for either the caregivers or the residents in nursing homes. The authors take the bold step of addressing death anxiety in the first session and this is well balanced by considering self-care issues in the last session. The six sessions in between focus on the important issues recognizing dying, pain, nutrition, advance care planning, grief and spiritual care. In addition, the appendixes provide a great deal of useful materials to use in preparing for the educational sessions. However, the authors seem to suggest in the case studies that nursing home staff are always willing to recognize and accept that the resident is dying. This is an issue that may need further discussion and exploration for the facilitator and staff than is provided in this book.
Assessment: This book makes an important contribution, not so much in the presentation of new information on the care of dying residents, but in the transformation of research and other literature into a usable and practical form ready for use in educating nursing home staff. I believe nursing home administrators and educators will find this book a great addition to their resources.