Title: Palliative Care within Mental Health Care and Practice
Editors: David & Jo Cooper
Publisher: Radcliffe Health
Reviewer: Dr Carol Cooper, senior lecturer in mental health nursing, Sheffield Hallam University
What was it like?
I feel the need to declare at the outset of this review that despite the similarities in our surnames I am not related, nor am I acquainted personally with the editors or contributors to this book.
The book begins by highlighting the parallels between Palliative Care and Mental Health Care making many pertinent points about similarities and overlapping skills needed for both areas. I was convinced by these arguments and keen to learn more. This book then moves on to consider how Compassion, Respect and Dignity underpin all of this and how the reader could enhance these in their own practice.
In chapters three to six Ethical and Cultural dilemmas are discussed along with the Role of the Family in end of life issues. A discussion of Assessment and Pain management follow with a detailed overview of medications used for pain relief. The following five chapters are devoted to specific mental health issues, namely the Young Person and Suicide, Long term Mental Health Conditions, Dementias and Substance Use. The topics of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide are raised and the book concludes with a final reflective chapter asking the reader to plan how the knowledge gained from this text will be used to change practice.
Throughout this entire book case scenarios are used to illustrate points made and encourage the reader to apply theory to practice. I found the book to be emotionally challenging at times and yet identified many useful learning points that could be used to enhance practice in this sometimes difficult area.
What were the highlights?
Thought provoking book, which tackles some difficult topics. It is full of case scenarios for the reader to reflect on and gives lots of practical advice on some complex issues. Key points are also summarised throughout each chapter.
Strengths & weaknesses:
An extremely comprehensive book that covers some difficult and emotive topics. However I think this book may only appeal to a limited audience, which is sad as it is thought provoking and challenging at times.
Who should read it?
I think this book is a useful read for all adult and mental health nurses however to gain the most from it I believe the reader needs to have had some experience of the care of people at the latter end of their lives.