Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes

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Loving Healing Press, Jan 1, 2007 - Family & Relationships - 198 pages
5 Reviews
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes" is the captivating account of Frances Shani Parker's hospice volunteer insights and experiences in Detroit, Michigan nursing homes. This universal book includes stories, general information, and original poems that explore hospice care, nursing homes, caregiving, dementia, death preparations, and bereavement. Strategies for improving healthcare and nursing homes are examined. School-nursing home partnerships are covered. The often-missing voices of people of color are included.
Praise for "Becoming Dead Right"
"A school principal and hospice volunteer, Frances Shani Parker relates her experiences with dying people in nursing homes. The second part of her book is about what we as individuals and as a society must do to improve things for those who are dying. I particularly enjoyed the guided tour, conducted from a wheelchair, of Baby Boomer 'Haven'."
-- Dr. Roger Woodruff, Director of Palliative Care, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia
"The writing is eloquent and powerful, and the stories are instructive and lasting. After finishing this book, I wanted to do more for other individuals who are dying, for as Ms. Parker so clearly imparts, the dying teach us so much about living well."
-- Dr. Peter A. Lichtenberg, Director, Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
"This book is filled with poetry, stories, wisdom and common sense that can help boomers, students, caregivers and policy makers understand their own aging and realize that our society can--and should--make important changes that can ensure safe, dignified, individualized care at the end of our lives."
-- Alice Hedt, Executive Director, National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
Learn more at
From the "Aging With Grace" Series at Loving Healing Press (
MED042000 Medical: Terminal Care
FAM017000 Family & Relationships: Eldercare
SOC036000 Social Science: Death & Dying

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Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes Author: Frances Shani Parker Publisher: Loving Healing Press ISBN: 978-1932690354 Frances Shani Parker has woven a beautiful and ... Read full review

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Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice
Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes
Author: Frances Shani Parker
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1932690354
Frances Shani Parker has woven a beautiful and touching tapestry of life and death; sharing her stories and poems about the very memorable and wonderful patients she worked with as a hospice volunteer. Already extremely busy as a principal, the author decided to learn about becoming a hospice volunteer. Following the workshops, she began her volunteer stint working with patients in urban nursing homes. She chose to visit patients in nursing homes because she believed they were probably less likely to have family and other visitors, and may be in need of outside companionship . Most of her patients were African America, but of course she had some patients of other ethnic groups also.
By sharing her experiences as a hospice volunteer, she allows her readers to take a look inside a situation most of us know nothing about. Through these stories, we learn about the individual patients she works with, along with gaining a much more thorough understanding of the entire hospice system and philosophy. Dying with dignity and peacefullness is something that we all deserve. Hospice care is an important part of ensuring that many people can experience death this way. Numerous races, ages, religious and spiritual beliefs, and life experiences are illustrated here. The process of dying is something that we, as a society, tend to ignore or leave undiscussed. The role of an individual's life experiences, mindset, ability to communicate and religious beliefs all play a huge part in how they interpret the process of death. Ms. Parker has included poetry along with short stories to share her impressions of her patients. In every instance, she found herself learning more about life, and by sharing these lessons we can learn them too.
The book does a great service by bringing the details of hospice to the general reader. We learn how the hospice system can fit into the healthcare system (or lack thereof) in our country today. The final portion of the book is a "tour" of what could be described as the epitome of the place that we all wish we could utilize for ourselves or family members as we/they face the end of life on earth. With the aging of the baby boomer segment of our population, the needs of Americans from the hospice care system becomes greater and greater.
These stories are offered with love and respect by the author to each reader, and you feel that caring and warmth that she offered to each patient she worked with. I will remember many of the stories and the patients they illustrate for some time to come. It's both touching and thought-provoking, and would be a book appreciated at many different levels by all readers. Exceptional ! !

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About the author (2007)

Frances Shani Parker is an award-winning writer, consultant, and former school principal. A hospice volunteer for many years in Detroit nursing homes, Parker is author of Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes. With stories, poems, and general information, she presents a captivating account of her experiences and insights on hospice, nursing homes, caregiving, dementia, death, and bereavement. A groundbreaking book with national endorsements, Becoming Dead Right includes universal perspectives, particularly the often-missing voices of people of color. An ongoing advocate for older adults, eldercare, and nursing home reform, Parker works with several organizations serving this population. She serves on the board of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She writes a blog about hospice, nursing homes, eldercare, and older adults in general. Her blog is Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog. As an educator, Parker has consulted in school districts locally and nationally on service-learning, a teaching and learning approach that connects classroom learning with meeting community needs. Among many service-learning projects, she created successful research-based intergenerational partnerships between schools and nursing homes. She includes a chapter on these partnerships in Becoming Dead Right. Parker has been honored with the Service-Learning Trailblazer Award presented by the National Service-Learning Partnership. Other honors include the Outstanding Education Administrator Award presented by the Metropolitan Detroit Alliance of Black School Educators, and the Educator of the Year Award presented by the Wayne State University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, an international, professional fraternity for educators. Her writing has received awards from Writer's Digest, the Poetry Society of Michigan, the Detroit Writer's Guild, Broadside Press, and the New Orleans Public Library. Parker's website is

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