Published by Oxford University Press
Edited by Max Weston, Rachel Campbell, Nandini Vallath, Stephen Ward and Jo Wells
Published September 2019
Palliative medicine is a discipline that transcends many medical specialties and it can involve complex clinical care but ultimately delivering it properly can be a very worthwhile experience for a healthcare professional and their team. However, it may be that some general and standard medical textbooks and resources may not supply enough information to help a clinician satisfactorily fully manage a palliative care patient. In the past, I have sometimes referred to previous editions of this excellent handbook and was most interested to see the latest edition and how that shapes up.
I was not disappointed; this is a superb update to an already excellent book and especially for primary care, this is a great support for helping to manage a particular patient. As in some of the Oxford Medical Handbooks, this book is in practice more than simply a handbook, it can be considered a full textbook under the title of a handbook. It comes in at just over 900 pages but still retains the expected dimensions of a standard Oxford Handbook, though understandably thicker than its average sibling.
Although there are lots of pages, it is quality that counts, and this book has it in abundance. Some of the chapters are excellent and that includes Chapter 2 -communication in palliative care. Chapter 5 covers an important area, namely drugs used in palliative care and covers all the usual suspects such as syringe drivers but also important topics such as deprescribing. However palliative care is more than just about drugs and this book covers these topic areas well. For example, Chapter 23 on spiritual care, is interesting, thought provoking and well worth a read.
This book is full of gems and offers excellent clinical support for a health care professional involved in providing direct patient palliative care. As well as providing practical advice, there is plenty of relevant information about working in a palliative care setting which is well worth reading and you may not find some of this information easily elsewhere. Examples include the chapter (23) on spiritual care mentioned previously as well as Chapter 32-self-care for health professionals.
So this book can help in multiple situations, it can be used as a reference source and I would guess many common clinical issues are dealt within this book. It is also easy to dip in and read small sections of the book for simply the joy of learning. Equally, it can also be used by undergraduates and postgraduates as a possible course book for medics, nurses and pharmacists to name just a few healthcare professionals who could benefit. The reading style is relaxed yet informative and so is easy to read and understand.
It is priced very keenly and represents excellent value for money. This is a superb book and at good value for money, it is difficult to find fault with it. Perhaps the only complaint is that no digital version is bundled with the cost of the book. Putting that aside, I would highly recommend this book, if you are looking after palliative care patients and need a source of assistance. This book for most common scenarios should provide some practical form of help and guidance.
Dr Harry Brown