A GUIDE TO DYING AT HOME by Deborah Duda

A GUIDE TO DYING AT HOME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Some practical pointers and comforting assurances for those assisting at a home-death are almost obliterated, alas, by late-Sixties maunderings. Duda herself helped care for three persons who died at home, and then became involved in pastoral care at a hospital. At the outset, she tells the stories of the three decedents (one was John Muir, founder of the publishing house and author of How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive; another was Duda's father)--all of whom died of cancer. Then she puts forth ""a synthesis of psychological and spiritual understandings that have come to me, with the basic information on physical care needed to support someone who lives at home until he or she dies."" She writes briefly and helpfully on hospice care, financial aid, medical supplies, burial and legal considerations (the police may require notification of any death at home). But the advice on more nebulous matters--depression, pacing yourself (the dying person may linger far beyond what was thought possible), dealing with feelings, grieving--ranges from empathic understanding to pop philosophy and the outer limits of medical knowledge. (Among the therapies to be weighed--and chosen by ""using your intuition [and] heart""--are allopathy, biofeedback, Tarot, and aura balancing.) Duda isn't afraid to report the variety of reactions she's encountered in her work (one dying friend said, ""stop rushing me"") and she seems to have come through not only intact, but uplifted. Still, readers not in sympathy with the style or stance will be better served, for now, with specific sources on dying and grieving, on hospices, and on home care--along with the testimony of those who've seen a loved one die at home.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1981
Publisher: John Muir