Palliative Care and Communication seeks explanations for the sense of optimism found among patients with small-cell bronchial carcinoma or lung cancer. Over a period of five years the author used ethnographic research methods to monitor the illness processes of patients from the time of receiving bad news until their death, from the perspectives of the various people involved: the patient, family and relatives, the doctors and nursing staff. Based on narrative descriptions, interspersed with observations, the author demonstrates 'why things happen the way they do in practice'. The book explores informal codes, ambiguous messages, the dilemma between professional detachment and personal involvement, patterns of information and communication during the phases of the illness, the latent realisation of approaching death, and the ambivalence of patients with regard to 'knowing and not knowing'.
Anne-Mei The's engaging writing style and extensive use of narrative make this book accessible to a wide range of readers: doctors, nurses, policy-makers, patients, relatives, researchers in the field of health care, and social scientists. It is suitable for use on various branches of medical and nursing training to illustrate the process of communication with patients during the terminal phase of a patient's illness.