Press and other publicity
Reviews of the Second Edition
Reviews from Readers
I was drawn to this book because I had experienced the hospice system for a short period of time fifteen years ago when my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I was curious to find out what it offered these days. In addition, the first edition of the book received praise from the British Medical Association.
Ann Richardson, the author, has written, “All of my books are based on the individual words of people, talking about their lives.” The book consists of recorded conversations which make for easy, fluid reading, and authenticity, at the same time raising the key issues that are essential to understanding the hospice world.
The book is divided into four parts:
1. The work of hospices including the differences between hospitals and hospices, the needs of relatives as well as patients, recognising terminal stages, respecting the wishes of patients. (Some of these were confirmed by my own experiences).
2. Tricky issues and difficulties such as families in denial, or neglectful families. (Very illuminating accounts from doctors through to chefs).
3. Motivation and rewards which answer the question- What makes the work worthwhile? “Privileged to do such work” appears a lot in this section.
4. Reflections on Working in a Hospice including the qualities required by a hospice worker: patience, being tough, having a sense of humour, imagination to feel what the patient has endured and so on.
There are three certainties in life: Birth, Taxes and Death. Here in the Western world much time is devoted to preparing for “Birth”. Death is generally ignored till it happens. Yet we all have to pass through the portals of death. I would therefore highly recommend this book to everyone.
Last but not least, I regard this as an excellent handbook for anyone facing the death of a loved one.
Insightful look into hospice life
By matt on 23 May 2017
As a Palliative Care physician working in the hospice setting, reading this book was a great help to me in many ways. It helped me really understand and relate to the many roles and perspectives within the hospice, from the chef to the nursing staff in an open honest way. It helped me see other coping mechanisms and struggles and truly re-inspires me as to the good work being done. It is very easy to read and well structured and clearly had a lot of good research put into it. I can really recommend this to both health care professionals, the wider multidisciplinary team and to any one who has been through this tough time or is embarking upon it. It is not a depressing book, rather the opposite, an inspiring look at resolve and compassion.
A fascinating insight into the world and work of a hospice
By Vicky Dearing on 21 Mar. 2017
I found this an absorbing read. It gives a real insight into a world that I knew little about. Learning about the different roles of the people who work in a hospice and how they interact with each other and the public at large was really interesting. The accounts come across as very honest – you felt you were getting to eavesdrop on conversations where people were opening up. As death is a subject we don’t talk about much and most of us are a bit afraid of I found it helpful to learn how professionals in this area deal with the events around death, what to say – or what not to say – how to cope with extremes of emotions. The depth of the caring for the patients and relatives- even in small things – was very evident.
A fascinating read
By DR Elizabeth Lee on 23 Mar. 2017
What I like about this book is that it gives voice to such a variety of people. All sorts of staff including the Patient Affairs Officer and even the Hospice chef, describe in moving detail the challenges and rewards of working in a hospice. It is written with a clarity and sensitivity that make the book a pleasure to read. Some passages made me cry and. rather to my surprise, others made me laugh. In spite of it’s subject it is a book that is full of life. It is honest and interesting. A fascinating read.
I am so glad I did
By Linda M Davies on 15 June 2017
Sadly my mother died in a hospice in 2011 and I felt unsure whether I was prepared to read this book. I am so glad I did. Whilst I knew how tenderly and lovingly all the staff looked after my mum, this book brought all the good memories back. Ann Richardson paints an authentic and honest picture of life in a hospice through interviews and narrative. On occasions I even chuckled but above all the brutal honesty conveyed is very moving. The book is well written with a simple easy-flowing style which helps deliver this difficult subject to your heart. Thank you for this insight Ann.
This is one of the best books I have read…
By Dr Mahesh Patel on 26 July 2017
This is one of the best books I have read and I even gave a copy to a patient who is a consultant in palliative medicine who enjoyed reading it too – Please buy and read this book.
A real insight into the joys and challenges of compassionate care
By Alice Oven on 11 July 2017
My grandmother recently went into full time care, and Ann’s book has really helped me understand what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ and appreciate the level of care and compassion the staff provide her. Having read Life in a Hospice, I have a new appreciation of the challenges her carers face every day, and also feel more prepared to deal with the next stage when the day comes. I recognised a lot of the empathy and human stories in the book, in the carer who freshly paints my grandma’s nails when she has a ‘special visitor’ to the hospice’s flexibility in allowing dogs to visit as well as relatives. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a relative or friend in a care home!
I thoroughly recommend it and especially to those who would like to …
By Amazon Customer on 3 July 2017
I find it helpful to read about end of life care and the stages that people go through as death approaches. It is interesting to read the testimonies of carers and staff in the hospices to gain insight into the extraordinary courage that patients and families demonstrate and also the difficulties that come with denial about dying.
This interviews have been well drawn together to give a full and rounded impression of hospice life. I thoroughly recommend it and especially to those who would like to draw on the experiences of others to support them in the …
I am not a person to give up easily and I decided to order the book
By ULM on 29 Mar. 2017
I am a trained nurse and even though I now work in health governance my role still brings me into close proximity with death and dying. I recently re-read a book about this topic which I had been very keen on in my early thirties but being in my early fifties now found some of veering off into the area of the so called ‘spirit world’ and predictions about what happens when a person has died quite unpalatable.
By chance I then received a link to this book. I am not a person to give up easily and I decided to order the book. I could not have been more pleased. The thing that appealed to me the most is how honest and down to earth this book is. The transcripts of interviews are short and easy to read and I think anyone reading this book should come away with a very good theoretical understanding on what life in a hospice is all about.
The book is very clearly structured into four main topic areas:
1. The work undertaken
2. Difficulties experienced and coping with them
3. Motivations and rewards
4. Reflections on working in a hospice
Whilst staff give their own opinions about what might happen when a person dies it is clearly identified as a personal opinion and there is a good balance of views. Thoroughly no nonsense and very well researched.
Reading this book has given me a lot of confidence that should I or anyone I care about need the services of a hospice, it would be a good place to be. It also has reminded me that a hospice fulfils a role in the last stages of a person’s life that at present no NHS hospital has the capacity to deliver. However, it has also given me a reminder that many issues hospice staff struggle with are very similar issues encountered by hospital staff. At first I felt a little deflated about this and then I remembered my Buddhist training and had to laugh at myself. There is no getting away from suffering – it’s the way we react to it that matters. And that brought me back neatly to the topic. There is no getting away from death – but thankfully there are hospices that make it more bearable. Thank you very writing a very good book Ann!
Very uplifting and interesting – very readable
By Amazon Customer on 18 Mar. 2017
The title of this book is right. A friend recommended it to me, but I was reluctant to read it because I thought it would be depressing to read about dying people. In fact, it is full of life and incredibly uplifting, because people who work in hospices are very impressive in what they do for patients. It’s also fascinating to learn what goes on behind the scenes and how staff cope.
A welcome kindle re-launch
By C. Nicholls on 16 Mar. 2017
I read Ann Richardson’s sensitive, helpful book ‘Life in a Hospice’ when it was first published and now I’m delighted to see it re-launched for the kindle. It’s not just a book for professionals but one for all who face palliative and end of life care for themselves and family. I highly recommend it.
As a medical ethicist in a teaching hospital, I …
By frederick nenner on March 14, 2017
As a medical ethicist in a teaching hospital, I am moved by the candour of staff, specifically when they talk about the difficulties experienced and what they do to cope. It makes the mission and work real. There is nothing academic in the understanding we have after reading about what people do, why they do it and what it actually means to patients and their families. We are in the experience. Very helpful for the people who actually do the work. It makes legitimate what we think and feel, but are reluctant to admit to – let alone speak about.
Hospice care for the dying.
By Arthur Goldschmidt on March 15, 2017
The book is on a subject that should be of universal interest, death, although most people do not care to think about it, and about how hospice care makes the process less painful, physically and psychologically, for the person who is doing it and for that person’s friends and family. It is a skilfully organized series of interviews with friends and family of the dying patients, caregivers, and administrators, easy to read and full of unforgettable, deeply personal stories.
A hospice is not a sad place, it’s a place of peace for living …
By Ruth Abel on July 4, 2017
Ann Richardson has written a book on hospice care that should be read by all medical people and anyone facing end-of-life issues with family or friends. I thought I knew quite a bit about how a hospice works, having had a brother-in-law who was in hospice care. I learned a lot. A hospice is not a sad place, it’s a place of peace for living until the end comes and a comfort for families. It’s interesting reading what staff have to say about working in a hospice. A very important book on the subject.
Caring for the dying at its best
By Reader from Europe on April 28, 2017
What a relevant book. No matter what walk of life or age, all of us will at some stage have to care for our dying parents, and it is therefore relevant for all of us to know what is going on behind the doors of hospices.
I was interested in reading this book because I have an elderly mother, aged 86. She is doing fine, but I am sure the moment will come, sooner or later that I will have to take care of her, so decided to delve into the subject of end-of-life care. Not that I want to work in a hospice, but I would like to get a feeling for what it is like. And well, I was pleasantly surprised that the author Ann Richardson covers all possible subjects. Not only about the caring itself, but also about the daily rhythms, the family, children of those who are about to die, the anxieties. All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.
A thorough look at hospices
By Ann Mershon on April 26, 2017
Ann Richardson has looked at the world of the hospice from the inside out, documenting the experiences of professionals, managers, staff and family. Her approach to this topic is both unique and thorough, an excellent resource for anyone curious about how hospices function.
Ann Richardson did an excellent job with this book
By Amazon Customer on April 20, 2017
Ann Richardson did an excellent job with this book. For some, hearing the word “hospice” may seem intimidating. However, this book is about living; it depicts the lives of individuals who are devoted to selflessly aid fellow human beings who are facing their darkest time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Life In A Hospice, because it teaches poignant life lessons we all should be aware of in order to be our best selves. I highly recommend it! Louise
A good death, a great book
By mickey on March 22, 2017
Ann has completed a work, in this book, that shows her commitment to her craft. She cares about all aspects of hospice from the patient, family and workers such as nurses, chaplains, etc. A good death is relative to the culture. In “Legends of the Fall”, the narrator, a Native American, in the 1800’s, felt the death of the main character by a Grizzly bear, was “a good death”.
Reviews of the first edition (2007)
‘An easy-to-read book, which will surprise many professionals and lay readers with its lightness of touch, humanity and refreshing tone. It is heartening to read these honest accounts of working with patients at the end of life. I would recommend it to anyone who has worries about their own or a relative’s care at the end of life – to know that there are good places and people around.’
Dr Nansi-Wynne Evans, GP
BMA Medical Book Competition
‘Adds to the canon of literature of personal narratives in the experience of illness, death and bereavement…The simple reflections on complex areas of care resonate long after you have finished reading the book.’
Cancer Nursing Forum Newsletter
Royal College of Nursing
‘Shines a light on hospices, this little known but crucial service. Unlike a hospital, there is no regimentation and no uniforms. If patients want to die at home, everything possible is done to make it happen. If he or she wants a beer, or to bring in their own pets or to have a bath last thing at night, they can.’
‘Peeks into the lives of those who provide medical and compassionate care to dying patients and their loved ones during their most vulnerable moments. Some of the stories are sad, some are amusing, but all are inspiring. This book offers a snapshot of hospice care at its finest. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in caring for people who are facing death, and anyone considering the option of a residential hospice program for themselves or a loved one.’
Professor Steven Claxton-Oldfield
Journal of Palliative Care
‘Describes how it is the norm within a hospice to go the extra mile – and how staff in hospices often take on whatever role is needed with patients. Healthcare professionals who work in hospices will find it of interest and some relatives who have a family member in a hospice may find it reassuring.’
Marie Curie Hospice Manager
Nursing and Therapies News
‘At last, someone has written a book encapsulating the work of hospices as seen through the eyes of the people who work in them….Enlightening reading for all healthcare professionals in palliative care. Highly recommended’
‘This fascinating book describes the motivations, rewards, aspirations and stresses of a group of people who work in hospices…. It would be a good read for the layman with no great knowledge of hospice care and would help inexperienced professionals understand the real meaning of palliative care.’
Hospice Information Bulletin
‘Enlightening reading for all healthcare professionals in palliative care, including volunteer, administrative and support staff.’
‘Refreshingly uncluttered by theory and illustrates how caring for the dying is a privilege – challenging and emotionally demanding. This book would be enlightening reading for anyone who wants to understand what makes hospices the success they are, including members of the community at large. After reading the book, our hospice cleaner said “this is just as it is”.
Dr Margaret Cheney,
hospice worker, posted on Amazon UK