3 Secrets Hospitals Don’t Want You to Know by Dr. Mark E. Meaney (2007) An experienced healthcare professional shows you what hospitals are hiding and ways to work around the problems.
Aging in Stride: Plan Ahead, Stay Connected, Keep Moving by Christine Himes M.D., Elizabeth N. Oettinger, M.DIV., and Dennis E. Kenny, J.D. (2004) Excellent sections on issues from end of life to legal and financial planning. Also a good section on senior living. Lots of checklists and forms to help get organized. [NHCPL]
…And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life by Sharon Kaufman (2005) A medical anthropologist, the author spent two years following parents, their families, and their doctors as they faced the final decisions about medical care and how long to extend life. Readable and eye-opening. [NHCPL]
At the Close of Day: A Person-Centered Guidebook on End-of-life Care by Lance L. Davis, M.D., M.P.H. and Albert Hl Keller (2004) By a doctor and a minister this work covers issues from financial planning to grieving to dealing with the medical establishment.
The Best of Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care through the End of Life by Ira Byock, M.D. (2012) The author, one of the nation’s foremost leaders in hospice and palliative care, argues that how we die is among the most pervasive national crises facing us today. An important work. [NHCPL]
A Better Way of Dying: How to Make the Best Choices at the End of Life by Jeanne Fitzpatrick (2010) This work offers a simple and effective framework for leaving caretakers concrete, unambiguous, and legally binding instructions about your wishes for your last days. [NHCPL]
Condition Critical: A New Moral Vision for Health Care by Richard D. Lamm and Robert H. Blank (2007) Thought provoking and controversial, the authors discuss the coming collision between life extending medical technology and the personal and cultural cost of those technologies. Extensive bibliography covering the issues of medical technology, cost control, and the “rationing” of medical care.
Empowering the Patient: How to Reduce the Cost of Healthcare and Improve its Quality by Glen E. Miller, M.D. (2009) You go to your doctor with a nasty cough. The doctor says you need a many-syllable medicine. You trust your doctor’s knowledge, but the cost of the pills is astronomical. What can you do? This book will tell you, along with addressing a number of other communication problems between the medical professional and the modern day patient. Includes a chapter about the how the Amish deal with health care as they do not buy insurance. [NHCPL]
End-of-Life Handbook: A Compassionate Guide to Connecting with and Caring for a Dying Loved One by David B. Feldman, Ph.D. and S. Andrew Lasher, Jr., M.D. (2007) The authors, a psychologist and an M.D. specializing in palliative care, offer practical advice about talking to doctors, how to understand your own feelings, and to care for yourself when a loved one is gravely ill.
Epidemic of Care: A Call for Safer, Better and More Accountable Health Care by George Halvorson and George J. Isham, M.D. 2003. The statistics are somewhat dated, but the ideas and suggestions for containing the cost of medical care in America are worth considering.
Final Choices: Seeing the Good Death by Michael Vitez (1998) Written by the “aging beat” reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and based on his 1997 Pulitzer Award winning article, Vitez provides a forum in which readers will begin to think and talk about their own ideas regarding a “good death.”
Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley (2012) Filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, this book shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end.
Final Victory: Taking Charge of Your Life When You Know the End is Near by Thomas A. Preston (2000) Contains wise advice, practical steps, and thoughtful counsel. [NHCPL]
Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness by Joanne Lynn, M.D., and Joan Harrold, M.D. (1999) This book shows up on many later bibliographies, and it’s a great place to start your study of the subject. Readable and full of practical ideas for managing a life with chronic disease and diminished quality of life. [NHCPL]
Hard Choices for Loving People by Hank Dunn (2001) Hank Dunn draws on his extensive experience as a chaplain in a nursing home, hospice program, and hospital. He shares stories of many of the patients and families he has helped guide through this most difficult and important time in their lives.
Hospital Stay Handbook by Jari Holland Buck (2007) A guidebook on how to become a patient advocate for someone you are caring for. [NHCPL]
How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernard (2010) Anyone struggling with a debilitating chronic illness will find solace in knowing that “they are not alone” and that there are ways to cope when it seems like all hope is lost.
In Your Own Time: A Guide for Patients and Their Carers Facing a Last Illness at Home by Elizabeth Lee (2002) Guides the patient through the choices that exist in the current system of medical care. [NHCPL]
Journey to Life’s End: A Traveler’s Guide by Susan Keller (2006) Practical, down to earth, and full of stories of people approaching the end of life gracefully. Order from CaringCommunity.org, P.O.Box 2331, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 $21.50
Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler (2013) The author follows the seven years it took her father to die, and the following year her exhausted mother lasted. Sometimes a desperate daughter, sometimes an accomplished journalist, Butler raises many of the questions today’s medical-industrial complex seems incapable of solving. An Important book and a good read. [NHCPL]
Last Acts: Discovering Possibility and Opportunity at the End of Life by David J. Casarett (2010) This work helps dying patients and their families think about the possibilities that exist at the end of life, so they may choose to spend their time in ways that help bring them peace of mind. [NHCPL]
Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System by Stephen Keirnan (2006) Landmark look at how patients and families can regain control of the dying process. [NHCPL]
*** Last Wish: Stories to Inspire a Peaceful Passing by Lauren Van Scoy, MD (2012) A intensive care physician, the author “Wrote LastWish intending to plant a seed in your mind about some of the medical situations you and your loved ones probably will face.” Discussion questions lead readers to their own beliefs and decisions.
Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics by Elliot Dorff (2003) As Jews confront ethical questions surrounding the beginning of life and the end of life, according to Dorff, they must do so with religious law in one and their moral sensitivities in the other.
*** No One Has to Die Alone: Preparing for a Meaningful Death by Lani Leary, Ph.D. (2012) This book is aimed at both patient and caregiver. The author has over twenty-five years of experience as a psychotherapist working with chronically ill, dying, and bereaved clients. Sections include how rituals validate grief, what is mentionable becomes manageable, and grief is not a measure of how well we loved.” Up-to-date resources and bibliography. [NHCPL]
Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One’s End-of-Life Hospitalization by Bart Windrum (2008) The author lost his parents in 2004 and 2005. Each was hospitalized for some length of time, in both cases a difficult and contentious time of confusion, frustration and ultimately anger. Among the most helpful chapters is one on choosing end-of-life care WITHOUT hospitalization.
Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring by Henri J. M. Nouwen (2009) This book offers thoughtful advice to the living on how to care for the dying and helps the dying befriend their own death.
Over diagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health by Gilbert H. Welch (2011) Examining the social, medical, and economic ramifications of a health care system that unnecessarily diagnoses and treats patients, Welch makes a reasoned call for change that would save us from countless unneeded surgeries, debilitating anxiety, and exorbitant costs. [NHCPL]
Overdosed America: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Distort Medical Knowledge, Mislead Doctors, and Compromise Your Health by John Abramson, M.D. (2008) The author reveals the ways in which the drug companies have misrepresented statistical evidence, misled doctors, and compromised our health. The good news is that the best scientific evidence shows that reclaiming responsibility for your own health is often far more effective than taking the latest blockbuster drug. [NHCPL]
The Rights of the Dying by David Kessler (1997) The right to be treated as a living human being; the right to be cared for by those who can maintain a sense of hopefulness; the right to be free from pain. Provides a vocabulary for communicating with one another, with doctors, and with hospital staff. [NHCPL]
Sick to Death and Not Going To Take It Anymore! Reforming Health Care for the Last Years of Life by Joanne Lynn (2004) Just a century ago, serious illnesses and disabilities were common at every age, and dying was usually a quick process. Today our health care and community services simply don’t meet the needs of a large number of people facing a prolonged period of progressive illness and disability before death.
*** The Take-Charge Patient: How YOU Can Get the Best Medical Care by Martine Ehrenclou, M.A. 2012. Great resource for the person with a complicated, critical, or ongoing chronic disease. Among the topics addressed are suggestions on how to deal with doctors and their staff, what to what do about medical errors, and why it is essential to create your legal medical documents now. [NHCPL]
*** This is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity by Susan Moon (2011) Coping with the issues and stages of aging from a very Buddhist point of view. This is a personal favorite.
Treat Me Not My Age: A Doctor’s Guide to Getting the Best Care as You or Your Loved One Gets Older by Mark Lachs, M.D. (2010) The author takes readers on a grand tour of adult medicine showing how we can navigate a complex and confusing system to make the best choices for ourselves and our loved ones. [NHCPL]
What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom for the End of Life by David Kuhl, M.D. (2003) Heart-wrenching 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.
White Coat, Black Hat by Carl Elliott (2010) “Adventures on the dark side of medicine.” Reveals the “medical-industrial complex” for what it is: BIG BUSINESS – and where there is money to be had, corners are cut. Scary scary stuff. [NHCPL]
*** Books I personally think are exceptional either in content or readability or both. Worth buying.
This bibliography was prepared by Rebecca Taylor, Funeral Consumers Alliance – Costal Carolina. Notation of “NHCPL” means the New Hanover County Public Library.
Please check your local public library, or request titles by Interlibrary Loan. Virtually all titles are also available from online bookstores, like amazon.com, often in “used” and other inexpensive editions.,
Questions or for more copies contact:
Rebecca Taylor, President
Funeral Consumers Alliance Coastal Carolina
P.O. Box 4262
Wilmington, NC 28406