Verdict: THE NEW ART OF DYING is a useful, concise, and practical guide, which offers useful information about making end-of-life decisions in a thoughtful and informed manner, and ensuring that they are carried out as the dying person would wish.
An instruction manual designed to provide guidance in planning end-of-life care for oneself or family members.
THE NEW ART OF DYING is a guide meant to help anyone concerned about how they or their loved ones can face their death with dignity, peace of mind, and the knowledge that their wishes will be carried out even if they are not capable of asserting themselves. It is more a practical and legal guide than a spiritual one, but it does ask readers to look within to determine what they really want out of the dying process. The focus is on achieving the sort of death that you prefer, according to your values, and avoiding conflict and confusion among those you leave behind.
THE NEW ART OF DYING goes into substantive practical detail, explaining precisely what happens with various forms of end-of-life care, resuscitation, palliative care and pain management. It also details different legal documents and means of making the dying person’s wishes known and designating proxies to speak for them. The information is concise, clear, and easy to use, providing real-life examples, information about what the limitations of particular types of care and of particular legal documents are, and discussions of what could go wrong and how to prevent it. Given the complexities inherent in modern medical care, and the difficulties of ensuring co-operation between relatives and medical professionals when a patient cannot speak for him- or herself, this promises to be a valuable resource for many.
The book does show some bias towards a low-intervention death, giving a mainly negative perspective on many end-of-life interventions like CPR and dialysis. Examples from real life also lean towards suggesting that a low-intervention death is preferable, with those who requested more intervention and treatment options tending to regret their decisions as having only prolonged their loved one’s suffering. Those who do believe in preserving life at all costs, however, will find that the book provides them with means of making their wishes known as well, even if the subtler message of the book disagrees with them.
THE NEW ART OF DYING is a useful, concise, and practical guide, which offers useful information about making end-of-life decisions in a thoughtful and informed manner, and ensuring that they are carried out as the dying person would wish.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader