Changing The Way We Die: Compassionate End Of Life Care And The Hospice Movement by Fran SmithChanging The Way We Die: Compassionate End Of Life Care And The Hospice Movement by Fran Smith

Changing The Way We Die: Compassionate End Of Life Care And The Hospice Movement

byFran Smith, Sheila HimmelForeword byJoan Halifax

Paperback | November 19, 2013

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There's a quiet revolution happening in the way we die. More than 1.5 million Americans a year die in hospice care - nearly 44 percent of all deaths - and a vast industry has sprung up to meet the growing demand. Once viewed as a New Age indulgence, hospice is now a $14 billion business and one of the most successful segments in health care. Changing the Way We Die, by award-winning journalists Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel, is the first book to take a broad, penetrating look at the hospice landscape.

Changing the Way We Die is a vital resource for anyone who wants to be prepared to face life's most challenging and universal event. You will learn:
  • Hospice use is soaring, yet most people come too late to get the full benefits.
  • With the age tsunami, it becomes even more critical for families and patients to choose end-of-life care wisely.
  • Hospice at its best is much more than a way to relieve the suffering of dying. It is a way to live.

Winner of the 2014 Independent Publisher Award Silver Medal in Aging/Death & Dying

Fran Smith is a writer, editor, writing coach, and communications consultant. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; Redbook; Salon; Good Housekeeping; Prevention; Health; the Los Angeles Times; USA Today, and dozens of other publications and websites. She has won many awards for medical reporting, health care investigations, ...
Title:Changing The Way We Die: Compassionate End Of Life Care And The Hospice MovementFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.65 inPublished:November 19, 2013Publisher:Cleis PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1936740516

ISBN - 13:9781936740512

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Editorial Reviews

America avoids death. From our obsession with youth to our heroic medical model, death is often viewed as giving up. Yet despite a culture of denial, the hospice movement, which helps families face the last stage of life with intention, compassion, and respect, has continually grown since 1963. Free of the often torturous medical attempts to cure old age or terminal illness, hospice offers palliative home care and seeks to restore control and dignity to the dying while providing support and respite to their loved ones. Health-care writers and activists Smith and Himmel chronicle the hospice movement and share stories of the dying and their caregivers, illuminating the benefits of this model. Also delineated are the issues associated with the encroachment of for-profit hospice - Wall Street knowing a Medicare bonanza when it sees one. By explaining the hospice alternative to the more common hospital death, the authors ask us to consider our own deaths and how we will go about making decisions when end of life is not just inevitable but imminent. They propose that hospice offers choice, freedom from pain and suffering, and perhaps even joy during those last days. This book belongs in every public and health-care library in America." - Library Journal, Starred Review"Changing the Way We Die offers a bracing introduction to hospice at a time when an aging nation needs to consider alternatives to expensive and often inhumane traditional medical practices." - Bloomberg Businessweek"There are few terms related to aging that cause as much discomfort as "hospice care." Perhaps be- cause of this uneasiness with the topic and, by relation, our own mortality,many put off end-of-life care until they are too sick to get the most out of the services it provides. Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel acknowledge these common feelings but hope that their book,Changing the Way We Die, will "lift hospice out of the shadows" of fear and misunderstanding."-Health Affairs"Changing The Way We Die is different from other end-of-life books in that its case studies are of real people - not composites - and that it sets the hospice movement in context, addressing its history and development in America." - San Francisco Examiner"Practical advice for those facing end-of-life decisions." - The Catholic Voice Oakland"Changing the Way We Die is a vital resource for anyone who wants to be prepared to face life's most challenging and universal event." - New Consciousness Review"Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement should be required reading for physicians, nurses, and anyone else - professional or volunteer - who provides care to those who are dying." - ForeWord Reviews"With abundant personal stories, information and discussion, Smith and Himmel present a sweeping look at what hospice means to patients, caregivers, communities, and to the changing face of health care in our nation." - Light of Consciousness"This book is a vital and uplifting resource for people facing life's most challenging moments." - Richard Brendan"Nobody wants to die badly." With that opening line, cowriters Smith and Himmel proceed to persuasively explain why no one should ever have to. ... Smith and Himmel provide inspiring stories about patients, families, physicians, and the entire hospice experience. - Booklist"Two excellent journalists write about the history and the modern ways of the hospice movement." - Regarding Arts"As a former hospice volunteer, I am thrilled to recommendChanging the Way We Die. Finally there's a spotlight on a crucial conversation which has the potential to reduce the suffering of millions of people at the end of life. A must read for anyone with elderly parents as well as those who want to be choiceful about their own lives." - MJ Ryan, author ofAttitudes of Gratitude, The Power of Patience, This Year I Will... ."This beautiful book opens the lid on one of the most important treasures in our lives - how we can change the way we die. The book reminds us that we often can choose to enter the embrace of hospice, with its deep roots in the heart of compassionate care. Hospice in the United States has been a movement as well as a practice. Dedicated, sensitive professionals and volunteers bring love and care to those who are facing death, in their homes, hospital rooms, and freestanding hospices. The words of patients and hospice people that fillChanging the Way We Die reflect great wisdom and self-honesty." - Joan Halifax, Ph.D, author ofBeing With DyingHospice is one of the truly humane innovations in our culture, andChanging the Way We Die not only shows why, it demonstrates the importance of treating death as part of the great mystery and privilege of being alive." - From Sue Halpern, author,A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home"There is nothing to be afraid of, within the pages ofChanging the Way We Die, but there is a great deal to be learned. Using compelling stories about people from all walks of life, this book offers a preparatory primer for people contemplating the final chapter of life for themselves or their loved ones. It will also help those who struggle to understand the medical care that their loved ones received in their later days. And it provides a calm and persuasive case for greater compassion toward people who are seriously ill, and those who care for them. If you investa few hours in reading this book, it will help you avoid months of suffering for people you love in the days to come." - Stephen P. Kiernan, author,Last Rites: Rescuing the End of Life From the Medical System"As one of the first volunteers with the San Francisco Hospice, as someone who speaks at hospice conferences on a regular basis, and, as someone whose wife died when there was no hospice care, I know about the hospice arena. I also know that this book is a gem in that world. With information about the hospice movement and personal heartwarming stories from providers, patients and their families, this insightful book will convince you that hospice is not about giving up but about getting thebest, most compassionate care. A must-read for anyone dealing with end-of-life issues.-Allen Klein, MA, CSP, author ofLearning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying: Embracing Life After LossInspiration for a Lifetime"My interest in the hospice concept began in 1978 and hospice has been my passion ever since. I watched and participated in its birth and have grown right along with its continued evolution. When I started readingChanging the Way We Die, Sheila and Fran had me from the introduction and I was riveted to the last page. The book is thoroughly researched and documented. It is a comprehensive look at the Hospice movement from its idealistic inception in the 70's to today with its many challenges.Changing the Way We Die is accurate and detailed. What lies upon its pages so needs to be said, examined and hopefully addressed. I highly recommend this read for anyone directly or indirectly involved with end of life issues. I guess that means everyone since all of us have to deal with end of life sometime, for ourselves or those we care about."-Barbara Karnes, RN, author ofThe Hospice Blue Book"For an experience that is universal, the act of dying remains one of the least discussed aspects of American life.Changing the Way We Die is a welcome addition to a growing body of work that documents the benefits of hospice care. Inspired by the very different deaths of their fathers, journalists Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel embarked on an investigation of what is now a $14 billion industry, interviewing patients, survivors and providers, and asking those at the doorstep of death: What do you want to do with the rest of your life? For even the frailest and sickest, there are choices. Enhancing the quality of life that remains is the principle of hospice, and this book is a valuable contribution toward the authors' goal of lifting hospice out of the shadow."-Eleanor Clift, author,Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics."Changing the Way We Die honors patients, their families, cultures, and values. Many misunderstood concerns about dying are addressed. Most of all, this book celebrates the end-of-life dignity to which every person is entitled. I highly recommend this enlightening resource that adds significant layers of practical knowledge to death journeys everyone will experience." - Frances Shani Parker, Author ofBecoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes"A wonderful book, full of captivating stories of peoples' lives. Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel tell the marvelous story of the history of hospice and rightly raise concerns about its destiny. As a clinician with almost 30 years of hospice and palliative care involvement, I urge readers to dig in, appreciate the writing, and learn from the lessons shared here."-Perry G. Fine, MD, author,The Hospice Companion"With almost four decades of steady growth since the first U.S. hospice program opened in New Haven, misconceptions still abound about this model of care designed to make life's final chapter free of pain, peaceful and fulfilling. Patients, families and many clinicians still think it is a place where you go to die - and only after you have given up all hope for the quality of remaining life - instead of a highly skilled care team that comes to your home. The cost of those misconceptions is untold pain and suffering for patients receiving futile medical treatments in hospitals and ICUs, and the frequent complaint, "Why didn't we know about hospice sooner?"Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement, a new book by journalists Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel, attempts to shed light on these murky misconceptions with lots of stories about real people. Starting with their own fathers' deaths, one with hospice and one without, the authors make it clear that dying is usually messy, ambiguous and difficult. But that's our birthright. They also show the ways that hospice can make the final chapter a time of poignant and meaningful farewells and wrap-ups.They emphasize hospice as a way to live - not a failure but an inevitable passage - once we "acknowledge that dying is not 'if' but 'when.'" Finally, they delve into the unfortunate current complexities of profit-driven hospice companies and government crackdowns on hospice profiteering - both of which make it harder for the terminally ill to get the right help at the right time. But armed with the information in this book, readers may be better equipped to make choices that could allow the richness of living at the end of life that hospice at its best can help to facilitate."-Larry Beresford, medical journalist and author ofThe Hospice Handbook"