Hospice, The End of the Beginning: A Handbook for Caregivers and Family Members

Tom Moore is a retired nurse who spent more than a decade working with hospice patients and their families. During those years he came to see the countless stresses—and moments of love and beauty—inherent in the hospice process. When his dear cousin, Marylyn, entered hospice, Tom’s professional experience became personal. His training came into play as he helped counsel and support Marylyn and their extended family, and upon her death he was inspired to write “Hospice, The End of the Beginning: A Handbook for Caregivers and Family Members.”

“So many people just don’t know where to start or what to do when a loved one becomes a hospice patient,” Tom said. “The major goal of this book is to help caregivers and family members deal in a creative and compassionate way with the many challenges they will face.”

Over 10 chapters, Tom covers topics including roles of the hospice team (nurse/case manager, social worker, home health aide, hospice physician, chaplain, hospice volunteer) and common questions asked by family caregivers (“What do I do first?” “How long does hospice last?” “What happens when death occurs?”).

Tom said an underlying theme of the book is to provide hope and reassurance that “the end of this life is anything but the end.” And respectful of those with a less spiritual focus, his hope is for knowledge and understanding of the hospice process to provide strength and patience to endure and to make the journey easier.

The book also offers practical advice on matters including estate planning in relation to hospice care (advance directives, do not resuscitate orders, wills, trusts, power of attorney, funeral pre-planning and more) and a sampling of lovely prayers for the dying in the Christian, Jewish, Islamic and non-denominational traditions.

Written in plain language and rich with relatable experiences, the book can be a helpful and considerate guide for patients, caregivers and even medical professionals providing support at end-of-life.

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—Book review by Patricia McMorrow, CaringBridge Staff