Synopses & Reviews
Patients and families facing the end of life often feel helpless: They don't know what to do or say, how to react or where to begin. For all those facing the uncertainty that comes with serious illness and dying, Handbook for Mortals offers the words, ideas, and actions that can give patients and families the confidence and strength they need to live life well. Using real and practical examples of situations that patients and families face, Dr. Joanne Lynn and a team of experts guide readers towards making sense of what can be a confusing and frightening time. The Handbook includes images, poetry, and quotes that inspire and help readers. Full of practical, hands-on advice for everything from pain and symptom management to advance care planning, from forgoing medical treatment to coping with events near death, Handbook for Mortals features information that patients can use to live comfortably and pursue meaningfulness, even in the shadow of death. It also includes guidance for family caregivers and loved ones, with advice on topics ranging from practical care to bereavement.
Handbook for Mortals is warmly addressed to those who wish to approach the final years of life with greater awareness of what to expect and greater confidence about how to make the end of life a time of growth, comfort, and meaning. It provides equal measures of wise counsel and practical information. Readers will learn about the decisions they are likely to face, the choices available to them, where to look for help, how to ease pain and other symptoms, what to expect with specific diseases, and how the entire experience affects dying people, their families, and their friends. Equally important are the stories included here of how people have come to terms with dying, how they have faced their fears, made their choices, and found meaning and purpose. These give us moving, firsthand insights into a profoundly important process.
Modern medical technology has changed not only the way we live but also the way we die. Until two generations ago, people usually died suddenly, after an accident or serious illness. Now, most of us will live with chronic conditions, and our dying will usually take longer, require more care, and demand more planning than ever before.
Handbook for Mortals is warmly addressed to all those who wish to approach the final years of life with greater awareness of what to expect and greater confidence about how to make the end of their lives a time of growth, comfort, and meaningful reflection. Written by Dr. Joanne Lynn and a team of experts, this book provides equal measures of practical information and wise counsel. Readers will learn what decisions they will 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. Such practical information is indispensable. But equally important are the personal stories included here of how people have come to terms with serious illness and dying, how they have faced their fears and made their choices. These give us moving firsthand insights into a profoundly important process, one that is often kept hidden in our culture.
From down-to-earth advice on how to talk to your doctor to inspiring quotes from such writers as Emily Dickinson, W. H. Auden, Jane Kenyon, and others, Handbook for Mortals addresses the needs of both the body and the spirit in our final years.
About the Author
Joanne Lynn, MD
is one of the first hospice physicians in the US, one of the major contributors to research and policy on care for the last phase of life, and a former professor at Dartmouth and George Washington University .
Joan Harrold, MD is the Medical Director/Vice President of Medical Services of Hospice of Lancaster County in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Janice Lynch Schuster is Senior Writer for Altarum Institute, where she specializes in writing about health care and public health. She has worked with Dr. Lynn since 1997 on efforts to improve end-of-life care.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Living with serious illness
Chapter 2: Enduring and changing
Chapter 3: Finding meaning
Chapter 4: Helping families make decisions and give care
Chapter 5: Getting the help you need
Chapter 6: Talking with your doctor
Chapter 7: Controlling pain
Chapter 8: Managing other symptoms
Chapter 9: Living with specific illnesses
Chapter 10: Planning ahead
Chapter 11: Deciding about medical interventions
Chapter 12: Hastening death
Chapter 13: Coping with events near death
Chapter 14: The dying of children
Chapter 15: Dying suddenly
Chapter 16: Enduring loss
Chapter 17: Resources