WOW, Coming Home is a great how-to manual on caregiving toward the end of life. Author, Deborah Duda deals with troublesome issues with humor and common sense. She tells stories about what she has seen and how she has dealt with potentially difficult issues. She does not preach at nor try to influence the reader’s mind. She tells what she knows and the reader has a choice to use her wisdom or not.
This 4th edition of Coming Home: A Practical and Compassionate Guide to Caring for a Dying Loved One is filled with ideas and the reader is free to look for information s/he needs in a wide range of areas, including:
Suggestions on how to find a nurse on page 69.
Three questions to keep in mind when talking to your doctor on page 97.
- “Presently, in simple terms, what’s going on?”
- “What do you think is best to do from here?”
- “How much of this treatment is to keep the person alive and how much is to help the person be comfortable?”
Grieve while caregiving as a way to cleanse bottled-up emotions to avoid being overwhelmed at the end. Duda advises, “Cry as much as you need to give yourself more space for living.”
Page 142 gives hints for dealing with visitors: “If the dying person has expressed a wish not to see someone, respect this wish.”
The chapter on “Children” starting on page 147 addresses common misperceptions about children being present while a family member is dying and offers help to younger members of the family in dealing with dying. Author, Duda, starts with a light-hearted quote from a child, “Mama, can we still laugh?”
Page 171 Lists nine steps and how to do them (with drawings) to move a person from lying in bed to a chair.
Chapter 11 “Legal Considerations” is chock full of information we all need to know including advanced directives, living wills, taxes and body donations.
On page 245 the reader is given a guide to help with meditation. “Close your eyes and breathe gently. With each breath, gently move deeper inside yourself. Imagine …”
Starting on page 259 is a checklist of things that need to be done after a person dies. This will be helpful because I bet I am not thinking straight after Mom dies.
I will keep Coming Home in my library because of all the practical information contained in it. Duda has listed names, places, phone numbers, and web sites for those who need more information.
I am relieved that I no longer need to feel guilty about the mean thoughts I have. I’m normal.
The Caregiver’s Voice Guest Reviewer