Review by megan25006 -- Honest Endings by Katherine Cullen

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megan25006
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Review by megan25006 -- Honest Endings by Katherine Cullen

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[Following is a volunteer review of "Honest Endings" by Katherine Cullen.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Honest Endings: A Social Worker’s Life in the World of Hospice by Katherine Cullen is about the authors experiences working as a social worker for a hospice agency. Katherine starts the book with a superficial explanation of the emotional toll this job took on her before backtracking to share her professional history. Katherine worked in many other settings prior to the hospice agency including with pregnant teenagers, in a detention center and in private practice. She then tells readers how the financial crisis led her to search for a job again when she had been preparing for an early retirement by slowing down her private practice. Then the book dives into her experiences in hospice work. Readers hear stories of patients who face death bravely, others who are in denial and others who are unsettled by regrets. We hear how Katherine was given a heavy caseload of patients with virtually no training or oversight. We hear how Katherine struggled with her own emotions as the agency did not provide support to its staff. Finally, we hear how Katherine’s tenure at the hospice agency came to an end.

My favorite aspect of this book is the raw emotion and honesty that Katherine expresses in her writing. She is reflecting on her work within a broken system. She admits to her flaws and limitations. Finally, she reflects not only on how she could have done better, but how the hospice system could be improved for the patients and the staff as well.

My least favorite aspect of this book is that it did not include a bigger discussion on end of life care or the patients side of the hospice experience. The entire book was through the lens of Katherine’s experience as a social worker. But, she could have given more detail about the patients experiences, emotions and challenges. I also would have liked to see a chapter on the other end of life options terminal patients have and the pros and cons of each. Why did her patients choose hospice over continued treatment or moving to a state where physician assisted deaths are legal? Did they regret their choice at any time?

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. This book is extremely well edited and very well written, but due to the above mentioned content I feel is missing I could not rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.

I believe everyone should read this book. The one guarantee in life is that at some point we will all pass away. I think it is important for each one of us to face our own mortality and decide what type of death we would like to have. This book is a great place to start in thinking through such a difficult topic. Readers who do not enjoy non-fiction books will not enjoy this book. And readers who do not like to read about death and dying will not enjoy this book.

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Honest Endings
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markodim721
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Post by markodim721 »

I think it is good that a book with this topic has finally appeared, because it is important to talk about the problems that surround us in order to reach a solution.
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