Sunday, April 4, 2010

Palliative Care Nursing: Quality Care to the End of Life, 3rd ed. – a Book Review


Palliative Care Nursing
Quality Care to the End of Life, Third Edition

Marianne Matzo, PhD, GNP-BC, FPCN, FAAN (Editor)
Deborah Witt Sherman PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, ACHPN, FAAN (Editor)

In this comprehensive textbook on palliative care nursing, editors Marianne Matzo and Deborah Witt Sherman succeed in bringing together the heart of nursing and the true meaning of palliative care with the most current evidence based practice. I admit to being a skeptic about hard copy textbooks in the setting of new studies coming out seemingly on a weekly or monthly basis. This book may have changed my perspective.

Here are several things I appreciate about this book:
• The book is true to its title “Palliative care TO the end of life", not AT the end of life. This is important. There is no presumption that it is about dying, per se, no favoritism toward hospice, no agenda or assumptions about the ‘right’ or ‘good’ way to live or support someone during illness.
• It starts with “Caring for the Whole Person in Palliative Care”. The emphasis on the whole person/family is held throughout the text, whether the topic is the pathophysiology of heart failure or sexual health of the ill person. In this way, it underscores the core of nursing as a discipline, promoting equally the importance of science, culture, and psycho-social factors.
• It’s practical. There are tables, charts, tools, and references that you can use without having to do an Up-to-Date or Google search. So you want to know the latest prognostic assessment tool, dying trajectories, or most common complications of a disease? It’s probably there.
• There are lots of sections on the uniqueness (physiological, pharmaceutical, social) of the elderly population. (This is also true of the peds sections, but I didn’t read them as carefully.)
• Each chapter opens with a case study. Sure, some are cases we’ve all had before, but some are not what you’d expect. For example, the case study for the chapter on end-stage liver disease does not start with a middle aged veteran with a long history of alcohol use. The case is a 9th grade high school girl with acetaminophen poisoning.
• It’s just plain well written and interesting. I tried to skim through the book to get the gestalt of the book, but kept getting caught by how much I was learning. It was, for me, just enough information to keep me engaged without being so dense I wanted to put it down.
• It’s not just for nurses. Like most good books, this book offers value to all health professionals looking for guidance in caring for persons with advanced illness, including social workers, physicians, PAs, nurses at all levels (LVNs, LPNs, NAs, RNs, APNs).

I imagine that the science will change in the next few years such that some parts of this book will be a bit out of date. That’s a good thing. At that time hopefully there will be a 4th edition. The 2nd edition copyright was 2006. I’m keeping my 3rd edition.

P.S. I have no financial relationship to disclose.

3 comments:

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