Edited by Diane E. Meier, Stephen L. Isaacs and Robert Hughes.
This book is intended as an introduction and guide to palliative care, and more broadly, the medical care of the seriously ill. Although concerns about the suffering and pain that seriously ill people and their families endure is not new—the hospice movement in the United States can be dated to the mid-1960s and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s seminal book, On Death and Dying, appeared in 1969—it was during the 1980s and 1990s that the American public began to pay serious attention. This attention has, if anything, increased during 2000s. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the field of palliative care did not exist. More often than not, a very sick or dying patient was viewed as a failure—a failure of technology and know-how to cure disease, or at least to extend life In response, the new field of medicine called palliative care came into existence —from the Latin palliare, to clothe. Palliative care focuses on the relief of suffering for patients with serious and complex illness, and tries to ensure the best possible quality of life for them and their family members. This book examines this new and significant field. Transforming Palliative Care begins with a comprehensive review of the field, written by editor Diane Meier, recipient of a Macarthur grant. What follows are twenty-five of the most important or influential articles in the field, written by its leading practitioners and analysts. These articles cover Care of the Seriously Ill: Why Is It an Important Issue?; Efforts to Cope with Death and Provide Care for the Dying; Research into End-of-Life Care; and Palliative Care: Pain and Medical Decision-making, Issues and Perspectives, and Caregiving.