At a time when hospices, like most of health care, is battered, bruised, marginalized and under constant redefinition, we have a book that cuts through it all to remind us all of what hospice is, what sets it apart, and what must continue to be its mission and purpose. The book begins with a clear statement of the hospice history and goals.
The natural flow is to the unique approach which is hospice care, the interdisciplinary team. It is "fundamental to hospice care." It presents all of the major players in a way that moves away from power and turf to the primary focus of patient, family and team.
Subsequent chaplains include family dynamics, disease processes common in hospice, imminent death, pain management, symptom control, legal and ethical issues, continuity of care and hydration/nutrition.
The section on spiritual care was noteworthy. While the booked failed to address clearly the differences between spiritual care and pastoral care, while some spiritual work is hampered by the control efforts of some of the medical personnel who tend to marginalize chaplains, and there was no discussion of how many hospices have shortchanged quality by not hiring trained and certified chaplains, the chapter is very helpful for giving resourceful tools to meet patients, their families, and, indeed, ourselves, within our spiritual resources and inner strength.
A fine resource and teaching tool.
The Rev. Dr. Richard B. Gilbert,
Executive Director, The World Pastoral Care Center