[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 26, 1992

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

Author Affiliations

Alexandria (Va) Hospital

JAMA. 1992;268(8):1033-1034. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490080107039

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In Final Gifts hospice nurses Callanan and Kelley have written a clear and eloquent guidebook "for everyone who has been or will ever be close to someone who is dying—for families and friends, for health-care workers, for dying people themselves." In simple nontechnical language they tell us how to help another person approach dying and death and help us to understand the social, spiritual, and emotional needs of the dying person.

The early chapters provide the reader a brief review of the hospice philosophy of care and of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross' work on the stages of dying. These together provide the foundation for the authors' recommendations for care and for their theory of "nearing death awareness" developed in this book. Drawing on many years of practice as hospice nurses, Callanan and Kelley define the state of nearing death awareness as "a special awareness of people, places and things" that dying people