’So well written and accurate to the feelings and emotions that you cannot help but have when caring for others in this situation. Fantastic!’
Title: Calling Time
Author: Judith Hereford
Publisher: Matador books, an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd
Reviewer: Paul Watson RN Dip HE, BA(Hons), SCPHN, PSHE, PGCE, PGDip, QTLS. College Nurse, Peterborough Regional College
What was it like?
Written in two parts, Calling Time brings to life the significance of elderly care with particular focus on the poor treatment of those in residential care.It follows the fortunes of two different characters, Kristine and Angela, both of whom are carers in a residential home in 1950s’ New Zealand. In Part I, Angela takes it upon herself to put four patients out of their misery. It is written from the perspectives of the residents, each account provides an illuminating insight into how little care each received. Angela soon finds that questions are being raised about the care she provides and when questions are asked about a 5th patient in her care, she is scared into resigning. Part 2 is set 46 years later and explores how Angela and Kristine cope as they grow old. Angela has become a virtual recluse, living in remote hill country with only her dog for company. Having moved to the UK, Kristine, a model of caring when she lived in New Zealand, finds that her elderly mother-in-law tries her patience, especially when she is living with them. After putting her in a home, the regulations become such a burden that the home is at risk of going out of business. Calling Time highlights the inadequacy of residential care that befalls many elderly residents. It also asks whether it’s better to be put out of your misery before being forced to move to a home with the possibility of ill treatment.
What were the highlights?
I am not a fan of novels, but as soon as I began reading I was made aware that this has been written by someone who has actually done this job. From the first page on the author manages to capture and describe the feeling and emotions that only someone who has been exposed to this type of work could laugh at. Calling Time generates it own genre in being a fictional account of something close to many of us, and yet not often written about. This story offers a fascinating journey through the lives and emotions of the character, with the character of Kristine bringing the reader into the mind and life of a kind and understanding person, first as a sensitive young woman, then as a caring wife and daughter, in New Zealand and then in Britain. Through the other characters, the writer shows us both life and events in the environment of the care home. There is drama and exposition of temperament underlying what one usually perceives as normal and commonplace, leaving the reader to his and her private thoughts on a subject seldom explored.
Strengths and weaknesses:
So well written and accurate to the feelings and emotions that you cannot help but have when caring for others in this situation. Fantastic!
Who should read it:
If you are new to nursing then perhaps don’t read this book yet. Give it a few years and when the shine has gone off the job then pick it up. You will then realise that the thoughts that you have at the end of a shift are the same as every other person doing this job. This book is written from several different perspectives within the care community - the matron, the carers, the residents - and will appeal to readers who have worked in a caring profession and as well as those interested in care for the elderly.