by David B. Feldman, Ph.D. & S. Andrew
Lasher, Jr., M.D.
with a foreword by Ira Byock, M.D
"The End-of-Life Handbook illumines the opacity which cloaks life's final chapter. Acknowledging the universal fear of the unknown, Feldman and Lasher light the trail which leads patients and families to reconciliation with life's last challenge."
- Walter M. Bortz, MD, Author of We Die too Long and Live too Short, and Living Longer for Dummies
Advanced technology has afforded people the opportunity to live with severe medical conditions for greater periods of time than ever in history. People may be told that they have a life-threatening disease a year or more in advance of passing away. A side effect of this reality is that patients and their families are facing unprecedented choices about how and where the death will occur. They often must choose between treatments that may extend life but cause significant side effects and hospice care that focuses on comfort but may mean foregoing other treatments. They confront endless medical opinions and receive little guidance in how to decide among them. Given such remarkably difficult choices, it's not surprising that many family caregivers say that for them the grieving process begins before their loved one passes away.
The authors of The End-of-Life Handbook — a psychologist and a medical doctor — have attended the bedsides of countless patients, helping families navigate these difficult choices and the emotional turmoil that accompanies them. Their approach has been to offer practical advice, clearly explaining medical information, treatment options, and practical decisions that must be made; however, they feel it is equally important to stress the opportunities for hope, personal control, and loving family connection that exist right until the end. After such conversations, family members often ask them to recommend books to guide them. Now they have written the perfect one.
The End-of-Life Handbook, recently released from New Harbinger Publications, addresses a true balance of medical, practical, and emotional issues. Written in jargon-free language that is accessible to anyone, it helps families understand the complicated medical system, consider important care decisions, tackle practical issues such as wills and advanced directives, as well as cope with the emotional turmoil and daily stresses that often accompany chronic and life-threatening illness. It also features a foreword by noted palliative care physician Ira Byock, MD, author of Dying Well and The Four Things that Matter Most. Although the book tackles many emotional topics, it carefully avoids the "doom-and-gloom" trap. Instead, it emphasizes the opportunity for hope, inspiration, meaning, and human connection at the end of life.