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Palliative Care within mental health- Ethical practice

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Title: Palliative Care within mental health- Ethical practice

Edited by: David B. Cooper and Jo Cooper

Publisher: Routledge 

Reviewer: Herbert Mwebe FHEA, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health

What was it like?

David, Jo and the other authors have done a super job to engage the reader on various ethical issues/topics relating to palliative care and to develop understanding around how this concept can be applied to the care management in enduring mental illness. A common stance is that palliative care and the insight this provides to caring and managing of symptoms for the dying patient is often linked to people with physical/medical conditions; the first chapter particularly helps the reader to forge a link by increasing awareness on how this term can be applied within mental health care; including acknowledgement for potential ethical dilemmas; the interconnectedness of society and core values of person-centred practice, all of which are central to health and social care management.

The book is richly jammed with a diverse content including clinical symptom management, LGBT issues, diversity and cultural awareness, caring for the dying patient and others. The topics are contemporary and relevant across health fields, making this a very informative resource to have for educators, students, practitioners and service users and carers. Particularly, I enjoyed reading chapter one as the link between mental health care provision and the notion of palliative care is clearly demonstrated. Although the author does not directly link the application of the Care Programme Approach (CPA) as being central to managing service users with complex mental, social, biological and psychological needs, the acknowledgement that palliative care in mental health care relies on intra and inter discipline working is evident and, in many ways, espouses the philosophy underlying the CPA. This is central to ongoing care provision and person centredness.

I would have liked to have a seen a separate chapter focussing on improving physical health needs in serious mental illness as this is an area with links to managing long term chronic condition in people with serious mental illness and debate around inequality and health inequities in this population- + moral/ethical issues arising from inadequate health care systems and processes, which compound physical care screening and monitoring in the SMI population. Do these factors and other further complicate palliative care provision and management in meeting the needs of service users with mental illness in a timely manner?

What were the highlights?

The reflective key points and/or review questions in the book are a useful learning feature. The book has aided my understanding of palliative care, what this could mean for mental health care, I will certainly reflect on this and tease debates about the concept and applicability to mental health care with students.

Strengths & weaknesses: 

The book is generally well designed and put together. The case studies aid the reader to link theory to practice-a strong learning aid for students and practitioners

Who should read it?

I would reccomend this book to students, general readers, clinical nurse specialists, ward managers, including carers, educators etc.

palliative care

palliative care


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