Words of Wisdom

First Hand Accounts

These first-hand accounts from the doctors and nurses that have made hospice their life’s work are a must-read for those contemplating a volunteer service position in hospice care. In addition, each of these books would be helpful to anyone considering hospice care for themselves or a loved one.

With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

by Kathryn Mannix

Dr. Kathryn Mannix has studied and practiced palliative care for thirty years. In With the End in Mind , she shares beautifully crafted stories from a lifetime of caring for the dying, and makes a case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation, but with openness, clarity, and understanding.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

by Atul Gawande

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Dear Life: A Doctor's Story of Love and Loss

by Rachel Clarke

As a specialist in palliative medicine, Dr Rachel Clarke chooses to inhabit a place many people would find too tragic to contemplate. Every day she tries to bring care and comfort to those reaching the end of their lives and to help make dying more bearable. Rachel’s training was put to the test in 2017 when her beloved GP father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She learned that nothing – even the best palliative care – can sugar-coat the pain of losing someone you love.

The Hospice Team: Who We Are and How We Care

by Chaim Wender (Editor), Patricia Morrison (Editor)

This singular work offers a truly interdisciplinary team perspective on caring, presented by 21 veterans of hospice service representing the array of disciplines in effective teams—physicians, nurses, certified nurse assistants, social workers, chaplains, music therapists, bereavement counselors, a volunteer coordinator, and a volunteer of more than 26 years. Contributors share professional and personal experiences that encompass the medical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, interpersonal, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of dying and bereavement. These are brought together through a person-centered approach that champions knowing each person being cared for to create the necessary opportunity for communication and trust that are the hallmarks of high-quality hospice care.

Dying Well with Hospice: A Compassionate Guide to End of Life Care

by Paula Wrenn, Jo Gustely

Dying well, comfortably and peacefully, is one of the most important, most desired of personal choices. At the same time it is one of the most misunderstood topics. Few of us really want to talk about death, yet each of us will be facing it at some point in our lives. What’s more, many of us are or will be a caregiver for another during this challenging time in one’s life.

Final Journeys: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life

by Maggie Callanan

For more than two decades, hospice nurse Maggie Callanan has tended to the terminally ill and been a cornerstone of support for their loved ones. In Final Journey’s she passes along the lessons she has learned from the experts—her patients. 

In her work with thousands of families, Maggie Callanan has witnessed the tears, the love—and the confusion and conflict—this final passage can evoke. Now, with honesty, compassion, and even humor, she empowers patients and their families to write the last chapter of their lives with less fear, less pain, and more control—so that all involved can focus their energies on creating the best possible ending.