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Palliative Care for Older People: a Public Health Perspective

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’This is a high quality well written and painstaking researched textbook, which deserves a place in any university or hospice library where it is likely to be well used.’

Title: Palliative Care for Older People: a Public Health Perspective

Edited by: Lieve Van Den Block Lieve, Gwenda Albers, Sandra Martins Periera, Bregje Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Roeline Pasman, Luc Deliens

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Reviewer: Robert Becker, independent lecturer in palliative care

What was it like?

This multi authored reference book takes a public health perspective look at the palliative care needs of older people in many different societies across the globe. Every continent is represented and the book is meticulously researched, referenced and indexed. As such its intended audience is indeed worldwide and rarely have a read a text that has given such a comprehensive, detailed and accurate overview of the current and future needs the elderly. The people who will buy and read this book are not likely to be practising clinical nurses, but librarians, palliative care researchers, academics, lobby groups and hopefully politicians and government officers who shape policy in this area. Also If you are studying at a higher education institution for a relevant health care degree in palliative care subject then this book is a must read.

Its twenty six chapters are divided into six logical sections covering the gamut of socio cultural, political and clinical issues that are of pressing importance in all developed countries and those whose populations are increasingly achieving longer life expectancy. The references are usefully located at the end of each chapter and are in Vancouver format.

What were the highlights?

It’s the sheer breadth and depth of this books scope and its honesty in its analysis that makes it stand out. I applaud the bravery of the editors in gathering together such an esteemed group of authors to offer a wide perspective and address in print perhaps the biggest elephant in the room facing modern society today. It’s more than just an academic analysis, however, it also closely examines the attempted solutions and good practice that have been developed across the globe and makes some interesting and highly relevant recommendations for governments and policy makers, if only they will read it and listen.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

While I appreciate that this is essentially a reference book, the text is rather small, which can make it wearing to read at times. The layout is conventional with liberal use of subheadings and the occasional table, graph or set of bullet points to break things up a little.

Who should read it?

Overall, however, this is a high quality well written and painstaking researched textbook, which deserves a place in any university or hospice library, where it is likely to be well used. Currently there is nothing else on the market in this area that is as up to date and can compare. That in itself may be enough to persuade you to buy as it’s unlikely to be superseded in the next five years at least.

palliative care

palliative care

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