Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying

Callanan, MaggieKelley, Patricia

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Collection (Case Studies with Essays)

Annotated by:
Donley, Carol
  • Date of entry: Dec-29-2007
  • Last revised: Dec-28-2007


Two hospice nurses describe their work with dying patients, especially with the special forms of communication typical of dying patients. The authors define "Nearing Death Awareness" as patients' knowledge and expression about their own dying. What doctors and family members may assume is the patient "losing it" or "hallucinating" actually is often a kind of symbolic communication dying patients typically use, either to describe their dying experiences or to request something they need for a peaceful death (such as seeing a loved one). By dismissing the patient as "confused," caregivers miss the opportunity to help the patient and may also alienate and frustrate both patient and family. By being aware of what is going on, caregivers can be more responsive and comforting to the patient and the family.


This book is extremely helpful for health care providers and family caregivers who work with patients dying slowly from cancer, AIDS, lung diseases, etc. It teaches the reader how to listen carefully and interpret the dying person's communications. The book is packed with case stories about dying patients and their patterns of conveying messages. It addresses not only the dying person's physical needs but also the emotional, social, and spiritual comforts most dying people seek. The book offers useful guides to understanding what one is seeing and hearing in the presence of the dying.


Bantam Books

Place Published

New York



Page Count