These books are recommended to those interested in learning more about hospice and palliative care. So much is available on this important subject. Write in and recommend your favorite!
A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents - And Ourselves
by Jane Gross (Paperback, 2012)
The longtime New York Times expert on the subject of elderly care and the founder of the New Old Age blog shares her frustrating, heartbreaking, enlightening, and ultimately redemptive journey, providing us along the way with valuable information that she wishes she had known earlier. We learn why finding a general practitioner with a specialty in geriatrics should be your first move when relocating a parent; how to deal with Medicaid and Medicare; how to understand and provide for your own needs as a caretaker; and much more. Wise, smart, and ever-helpful, A Bittersweet Season is an essential guide to caring for aging parents.
The Art of Dying: How to Leave This World with Dignity and Grace, At Peace with Yourself and Your Loved Ones
by Patricia Weenolsen and Bernie S. Siegel (Paperback - October 1997)
The Art of Dying offers much information, including very practical information, for dealing with the end of life, most of which focus primarily on the spirituality of dying, and communicating with loved ones before you die.
At Home With Terminal Illness: A Family Guide To Hospice In The Home
by Michael Appleton (Paperback - April 1994)
This unique, easy-to-use guide is organized alphabetically and covers all topics of concern for the caregiver of a terminally ill patient being cared for at home. Written in plain, simple English, this book contains no medical jargon to confuse the lay person.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande (October 2014)
Bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.
The Best Care Possible, by Dr. Ira Byock, a practicing Palliative Medicine Physician & professor at Dartmouth Medical School, one of the foremost palliative physicians in the country and a member of NHHPCO.
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? A Memoir
by Roz Chast (Hardcover, May 2014)
NY Times review
#1 NY Times Bestseller, 2014
An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller.
Coming of Age with Aging Parents: The Bungles, Battles, and Blessings
by Gail Goeller (Paperback - 2004)
Author and hospice volunteer Gail Goeller shares the beauty and challenges of family caregiving in her witty and sensitive book. A must-read for anyone caring for an older loved one, its real-life stories portray everything from dealing with late-night phone calls and parental self-diagnosis to managing angry outbursts, emergencies of all sorts, caregiver burnout and end-of-life requests.
Dear Alzheimer's: A Caregiver's Diary & Poems
by Esther Altshul Helfgott (Paperback, July 2013)
A poet's chronology of caregiving for her spouse who struggled with Alzheimer's. An intimate recording of how the disease acts as a slow moving wedge to separate us from the ones we love. A powerful testament to all who love, care give and ultimately say goodbye.
Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life
by Ira Byock M.D. (Paperback - March 1998)
Dying Well brings readers to the homes and bedsides of families with whom Dr. Byock has worked, telling stories of love and reconciliation in the face of tragedy, pain, and conflict.
The Final Act of Living: Reflections of a Hospice Nurse
by Barbara Karnes (Paperback - January 2003)
The author of Gone From My Sight, My Friend, I Care, and A Time to Live, shares her insights and perceptions from years of working with people during the final act of living. Now her lectures and ideas have been put on paper. This book is written in a simple, direct yet gentle style as it explores the signs of approaching death from disease, the normal grieving process, living wills, Durable Power of Attorney and other end of life issues.
Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
by Maggie Callanan (Paperback - March 1997)
Impressive insights into the experience of dying, offered by two hospice nurses with a gift for listening. The "final gifts'' of the title are the comfort and enlightenment offered by the dying to those attending them, and in return, the peace and reassurance offered to the dying by those who hear their needs.
The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living
by Ira Byock M.D. (Free Press - March 2004)
Powerful real-life stories culled from Dr. Byock's and other counselors' patients who used the Four Things in all sorts of life situations show the possibility of interpersonal healing and wholeness, even in the wake of tragedy or the face of death.
Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness
by Joanne Lynn, M.D. and Joan Harrold. M.D. (Paperback - September 2001)
Written for caregivers as well as the dying, Handbook for Mortals is an excellent resource for anyone facing the end of life. Warmly addressed to all those who wish to approach the final years of life with greater confidence and how to make the end of our lives a time of growth, comfort, and meaningful reflection. Readers will learn what decisions they need to face, what choices are available to them, where to look for help, how to ease pain and other symptoms, what to expect with specific diseases, how the health-care system operates, and how the entire experience affects dying persons, their families, and their friends. Filled with personal stories of how people have come to terms with dying, faced their fears, and made their choices.
The Heart of Hospice: Core Competencies for Reclaiming the Mystery
by Brenda Clarkson and Myra L. Lovvorn (Paperback - Jan 2015)
Returning to the original principles upon which hospice was founded, the authors describe the core competencies every hospice practitioner needs to reclaim the mystery of death and guide families through end-of-life care. With fifty-five years of collective hospice nursing experience, the authors are equipped to take you on a journey that leads to success.
Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death
by Katy Butler (Paperback - June 2014)
This bestselling blend of memoir and investigative reporting--hailed as a "triumph" and a "Notable Book of the Year" by The New York Times--ponders the "Good Death" and the forces that stand in its way.
The LastingMatters Organizer: Where Loved Ones Find What Matters Most
by Barbara Bates Sedoric (Paperback - May 2014)
Planning for your death is not just difficult because we want to avoid the topic at all costs. It is also daunting because of the sheer amount of vital information that needs to be sorted through and clarified. What do you need to think about? Who do you need to tell? And how can you make your wishes crystal clear? The LastingMatters Organizer makes planning for your death and communicating your wishes easy. It is a straightforward guide that walks you through everything from what to do with your belongings to how you want your life celebrated.
The Needs of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life's Final Chapter
by David Kessler (Paperback - October 2000)
Personal stories are intertwined with practical suggestions, and specific instances are frequently used to illustrate techniques, processes, and the importance of telling your story, rather than assuming your family already knows it. Kuhl focuses particularly on coming to terms with one's past. Discussions of family histories, lifelong priorities, and difficult choices are emphasized as tools for making peace among family members and with one's own conscience. The daily life of pain management and support groups is also covered in detail, and Kuhl offers plenty of suggestions on how to begin that difficult conversation in which death is first acknowledged as a rapidly approaching fact. Written for patients and caregivers as well as friends and family, this useful guide will help everyone involved navigate the twists and turns of terminal illness.
On Death and Dying
by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (Paperback, 1970)
What the dying have to teach doctors, clergy, nurses, and their own families.
Part of Me Died, Too: Stories of Creative Survival Among Bereaved Children and Teenagers
by Virginia Lynn Fry (Paperback, 1995)
Adults will find much of interest in Fry's discussions of the particularities of children's responses to death; young mourners and their peers will be moved and fortified by Fry's thoughtfulness and honesty.
Talking about Death Won't Kill You
by Virginia Morris (Hardcover - September 10, 2001)
Morris (How To Care for Aging Parents, LJ 4/1/96) makes a good point: it is better to learn about death and discuss end-of-life issues with family and friends before terminal illness or tragedy strikes. Unlike other writers on the subject, she does not cover basic care of the dying or the stages of dying and bereavement, instead discussing in simple language such issues as life-prolonging medical procedures, the necessity of creating legal documents giving instructions for final care, how to visit and relate to dying people, and how to talk to children about death. Throughout, stories of families and individuals are related to illuminate how to make decisions regarding death and dying.
Way Down Back: A Journey Into Hospice Country
by Caroline MacDonald (Paperback - November 2014)
Way Down Back is a coming together of men and women facing the end of life, grief and loss, and the period of bereavement. In her work in hospice, Caroline Macdonald listens to scores of stories from patients, families, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, volunteers. In this first compilation of poems and poetic prose, she creates space to these many voices she has heard on the journey into hospice country. With sensitivity and grit, Macdonald connects us to our common reality of death and dying.