A Few Months to Live: Different Paths to Life’s End

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Georgetown University Press, Apr 13, 2001 - Medical - 384 pages
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A Few Months to Live describes what dying is like from the perspectives of nine terminally ill individuals and their caregivers. Documenting a unique study of end-of-life experiences that included detailed conversations in home care settings, the book focuses on how participants lived their daily lives, understood their illnesses, coped with symptoms-especially pain-and searched for meaning or spiritual growth in their final months of life. The accounts are presented largely in the participants' own words, illuminating both the medical and non-medical challenges that arose from the time each learned the "bad news" through their final days of life and memorial services.

Describing the nationwide crisis that surrounds end-of-life care, the authors contend that informal caregiving by relatives and close friends is an enormous and too-often invisible resource that deserves close and public attention. By incorporating not only the ill person's but also the family's perspective, they portray the nine participants in the contexts of their daily lives and relationships rather than simply as patients. Addressing such issues as palliative care, quality of life, financial hardship, grief and loss, and communications with medical personnel, the authors identify how families, professionals, and communities can respond to the challenges of terminal illness and the need to confront life's end.

 

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Contents

IV
1
VI
23
VII
57
VIII
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IX
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X
135
XI
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XII
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XIV
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XVI
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XVIII
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XIX
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XX
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XXI
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XXII
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XIII
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Page xx - It is best to think of ethnographic interviews as a series of friendly conversations into which the researcher slowly introduces new elements to assist informants to respond as informants. Exclusive use of these new ethnographic elements, or introducing them too quickly, will make interviews become like a formal interrogation. Rapport will evaporate, and informants may discontinue their cooperation.
Page xxii - Culture does not provide a cognitive map, but rather a set of principles for map making and navigation. Different cultures are like different schools of navigation designed to cope with different terrains and seas
Page xiii - study by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found that
Page v - Acknowledgments This book would not have been possible without the generosity of the people who
Page xxii - is learned, revised, maintained, and defined in the context of people interacting
Page xx - At any time during an interview it is possible to shift back to a friendly conversation. A few minutes of easygoing talk interspersed here and there throughout

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About the author (2001)

Jana Staton is a researcher with the Missoula Demonstration Project, a community-wide effort in Missoula, Montana to study and transform end-of-life experience and care. She is author of Listening to Families.

Roger Shuy is Distinguished Research Professor of Linguistics Emeritus at Georgetown University. He is author of Bureaucratic Language of Government and Business.

Ira Byock, MD, is the cofounder of and principal investigator for the Missoula Demonstration Project and is a research professor in the department of philosophy at the University of Montana. He is author of Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life.

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