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Book and Media Reviews
October 17, 2012

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

Author Affiliations
 

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

Author Affiliation: Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Brookings (richardpholm@gmail.com).

JAMA. 2012;308(15):1589. doi:10.1001/jama.308.15.1589-a

As an internist/geriatrician often caring for ill and dying people, and as the director of the hospice program in my prairie community, I was pleased to review the book Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying, by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley.

In this modern medical world of “save everyone at any cost,” people have come to have unrealistic expectations of extended life and paradoxically have augmented fears of death. Coming to the rescue have been the hospice movement and palliative care, providing comfort and hope to many dying people and their families. Callanan and Kelley are hospice caregivers who listen, care, and reassure people overwhelmed with bad news about cancer and impending death. Their book was crafted to do the same, and it succeeds.

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