Book review: With the End in Mind

Palliative care clinical nurse specialist Claire Windsor reviews a text that aims to tackle the taboo around dying

With the End in Mind – Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

Kathryn Mannix
Harper Collins
£16.99 hardback | 352pp
ISBN: 9780008210885 

What a wonderful read. The book is written with the general public in mind, in an attempt to decrease the taboo around death and dying and to reclaim public understanding of death. However, I feel this is a must-read for any healthcare professional who may encounter a patient nearing the end of their life.

The author explains very eloquently the natural dying process and how to recognise this. These are very welcome skills for healthcare professionals who do not specialise in palliative care as there can sometimes be a tendency to over-treat a dying person, particularly in an acute setting. The book also covers the important topic of advance care planning, encouraging conversations about people’s priorities and wishes for treatment as they are approaching death.

The stories included are insightful, informative, heart-warming and inspirational. Healthcare professionals are reminded of the person and family behind the illness and the importance of treating them as such; taking the time to listen to their stories and wishes can increase such value in providing good end of life care.

The book is very well written and easy to read. I would recommend it to read and then share with colleagues, friends and family. I’m sure it will encourage and motivate people to think about their own wishes, open up conversations with family and friends and, hopefully, demystify many aspects of the natural dying process.

Claire Windsor, palliative care clinical nurse specialist, London North West University Healthcare Trust

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