Title : Coming Home - A Practical Compassionate Guide to Caring for a Dying Loved One
Author : Deborah Duda
Publisher : Synergy Books
ISBN : 978-0-9842358-9-6
A perfect handbook for the people around a loved one who chooses to spend the last days of his/her life in a warm and loving home environment instead of an impersonal hospital. The author of the book - Deborah emphasizes the point that selecting between the two - hospital or home, is the first step for a terminally ill patient and after making the desire known the next step is for the people around the patient to rationally evaluate the feasibility or workability of that option. Once these steps are over, the actual implementation stage ensues and a lot of preparation goes in making this whole process easier, smooth and stress free for the patient as well as for the family or friends who are helping the patient move towards a new life.
One of the tasks that is to be done by the patient him(her)self is the acceptance of dying. It does take a little time to get used to the feeling that the person him(her)self is not in control. The author very appropriately puts it in these words, 'To surrender and to be free, we have to accept life as it is instead of holding on to how we think it should be'. When the circumstances of the lives cannot be controlled or managed as per our liking or desire, we can still choose the attitude to take the same. The attitude about dying can also be rationally selected - optimistically or pessimistically. Just with a little twist in this attitude the same eyes get different lenses to look at the same world.
For the caregivers , this book provides a step by step tour of the whole process and the important points and suggestions which they need to keep in mind while engaged in this noble task. But before anything else, she tries to make the point very clear that the main objective of the caregivers is 'not to cure but to give quality to the life'. So feeling good about the decision to bring the patient home is very important and at no point the guilt of any kind should interfere the initially taken decision. Other important aspects which should be planned and executed well are - managing finances intelligently, the right kind of home care, keeping the morale of the family and the patient high, not shying away from taking help from others, having a sound support system and some backup so that there never comes a time that the caregivers feel drained out and the whole process starts becoming a burden.
Deborah starts the book by narrating her own personal experiences of participating in the home deaths of her father, mother and her two friends. I found it a very nice way of starting the book as it makes the whole work very personal and rightly conveys the point that what all she has suggested throughout the book is very much doable. She has sensitively touched and handled the medical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the process of dying and the sense of achievement the family and friends feel by participating and contributing in this endeavor. In my opinion this is a 'must have' book for the families of the dying individuals and especially those who have decided to bring the patient home for the final journey. The book can be used as a good checklist, a hand book and a manual for those hours, days, months or years before the terminally ill individual begins the new life.