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The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care
Volandes, Angelo E.
There is an unspoken dark side of American medicine--keeping patients alive at any price. Two thirds of Americans die in healthcare institutions, tethered to machines and tubes at bankrupting costs, even though research shows that most prefer to die at home in comfort, surrounded by loved ones. Dr. Angelo E. Volandes believes that a life well lived deserves a good ending. Through the stories of seven patients and seven very different end-of-life experiences, he demonstrates that what people with a serious illness, who are approaching the end of their lives, need most is not new technologies but one simple thing: The Conversation. He argues for a radical re-envisioning of the patient-doctor relationship and offers ways for patients and their families to talk about this difficult issue to ensure that patients will be at the center and in charge of their medical care.It might be the most important conversation you ever have.
The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life
A reassuring and thoroughly researched guide to maintaining a high quality of life - from resilient old age to the first inklings of a serious illness to the final breath - by the New York Times bestselling author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door.The Art of Dying Well is about living as well as possible for as long as possible and adapting successfully to change. Packed with extraordinarily helpful insights and inspiring true stories, award-winning journalist and prominent end-of-life speaker Katy Butler shows how to thrive in later life (even when coping with a chronic medical condition), how to get the best from our health system, and how to make your own “good death” more likely. This handbook of step by step preparations - practical, communal, physical, and sometimes spiritual - will help you make the most of your remaining time, be it decades, years, or months.Butler explains how to successfully age in place, why to pick a younger doctor and how to have an honest conversation with her, when not to call 911, and how to make your death a sacred rite of passage rather than a medical event.This down-to-earth manual for living, aging, and dying with meaning and even joy is based on Butler’s own experience caring for aging parents, as well as hundreds of interviews with people who have successfully navigated a fragmented health system and helped their loved ones have good deaths. It also draws on interviews with nationally recognized experts in family medicine, palliative care, geriatrics, oncology, hospice, and other medical specialties. Inspired by the medieval death manual Ars Moriendi, or the Art of Dying, The Art of Dying Well is the definitive update for our modern age, and illuminates the path to a better end of life.
That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour
As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Between days spent waiting for her mother, an anesthesiologist, to exit the OR, and evenings spent in conversation with her parents about their faith, Puri witnessed the tension between medicine's impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual embrace of life's temporality. And it was that tension that eventually drew Puri, a passionate but unsatisfied medical student, to palliative medicine--a new specialty attempting to translate the border between medical intervention and quality-of-life care.Interweaving evocative stories of Puri's family and the patients she cares for, That Good Night is a stunning meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well, arming readers with information that will transform how we communicate with our doctors about what matters most to us.
Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life
Zitter, Jessica Nutik
In medical school, no one teaches you how to let a patient die.Jessica Zitter became a doctor because she wanted to be a hero. She elected to specialize in critical care - to become an ICU physician - and imagined herself swooping in to rescue patients from the brink of death. But then during her first code she found herself cracking the ribs of a patient so old and frail it was unimaginable he would ever come back to life. She began to question her choice.Extreme Measures charts Zitter’s journey from wanting to be one kind of hero to becoming another - a doctor who prioritizes the patient’s values and preferences in an environment where the default choice is the extreme use of technology. In our current medical culture, the old and the ill are put on what she terms the End-of-Life Conveyor belt. They are intubated, catheterized, and even shelved away in care facilities to suffer their final days alone, confused, and often in pain. In her work Zitter has learned what patients fear more than death itself: the prospect of dying badly. She builds bridges between patients and caregivers, formulates plans to allay patients’ pain and anxiety, and enlists the support of loved ones so that life can end well, even beautifully.Filled with rich patient stories that make a compelling medical narrative, Extreme Measures enlarges the national conversation as it thoughtfully and compassionately examines an experience that defines being human.
Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life
There is no more universal truth in life than death. No matter who you are, it is certain that one day you will die, but the mechanics and understanding of that experience will differ greatly in today’s modern age. Dr. Haider Warraich is a young and brilliant new voice in the conversation about death and dying. Dr. Warraich takes a broader look at how we die today, from the cellular level up to the very definition of death itself.The most basic aspects of dying - the whys, wheres, whens, and hows - are almost nothing like what they were mere decades ago. Beyond its ecology, epidemiology, and economics, the very ethos of death has changed. Modern Death, Dr. Warraich’s debut book, explores the rituals and language of dying that have developed in the last century, and how modern technology has not only changed the hows, whens, and wheres of death, but the what of death.Delving into the vast body of research on the evolving nature of death, Modern Death will provide readers with an enriched understanding of how death differs from the past, what our ancestors got right, and how trends and events have transformed this most final of human experiences.
The Way We Die Now: The View From Medicine's Front Line
We have lost the ability to deal with death. Most of the dying spend their last days in general hospitals and nursing homes, in the care of strangers. They may not even know they are dying, victims of the kindly lie that there is still hope. They are often robbed of their dignity after a long series of excessive and hopeless medical interventions.This is the starting point of Seamus O’Mahony’s book on the western way of death. Dying has never been more exposed, with public figures writing memoirs of their illness, but in private we have done our best to banish all thought of death.Dying has become medicalized and sanitized, but doctors cannot prescribe a “good death." The Way We Die Now asks us to consider how we have gotten to this age of spiritual poverty and argues that giving up our fantasies of control over death can help restore its significance.
Graceful Exit: How to Advocate Effectively, Take Care of Yourself, and Be Present for the Death of a Loved One
When we are thrust into the role of caregiver for a loved one who is in the process of dying, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Yet it’s a situation millions of us face every year with virtually no sort of preparation or guidance. With Graceful Exit, Dr. Gustavo Ferrer offers an all-in-one resource for anyone tasked with managing the end-of-life care of a loved one.Dr. Ferrer shares the essential steps we need to take in a way that can be tailored to our unique situation. Through checklists, plans, and step-by-step instructions reflecting his years of experience supporting patients and their families, Dr. Ferrer offers clear and compassionate guidance for the most difficult issues, including:• What are your rights under Medicare and health insurance? • When should you bring your family together? • How can you be a caregiver without burning yourself out? • What are the pros and cons of advanced medical treatment versus hospice at each end-of-life stage? • Most importantly, how do we say goodbye in a way that brings healing, closure, and peace?It’s the last news we want to hear - that someone we love is dying. Yet it's an inevitable part of life. With Graceful Exit, Dr. Ferrer offers this much-needed guide through the medical, legal, financial, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of dying and death.
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