Where perfection is the only acceptable goal.

Where do I begin? First, in answer to many of your questions as to why I have not reviewed a book in a while? —and thanks for your readership and interest in this site—I can say that a combination of too many professional engagements combined with too many personal issues related to health and relocation have conspired to eliminate for a while my ability to write. But rest assured, the readings have continued and now that I am back there will be more reviews coming. I start with a GREAT book.

Few people in this world can write about such a commonly experienced event—a “bad death”—of a parent as poignantly, lovingly and as wisely as Ms. Butler has in her new book.  Erudition and caring are shown from beginning to end of this timely and important book. There are lessons in this book literally for everyone—old, young, parent, child, spouse, medical professionals at all levels, particularly physicians and especially cardiac specialists!

This is not an old book, but it is not as recent as most of the books we review on this site. I reread it recently and wanted to recommend it as a well written, incredible resource for those caring for loved ones, particularly loved ones considering or already in an assisted living facility. 

Recommended Reading: The Best Practice by Charles Kennedy

While this book is almost 5 years old and long since in paperback, I recently reread it for my own purposes.  It never would have occurred for me to review it here because I had assumed that most Americans--all the way from those highly initiated healthcare to those pretty ignorant of it--would agree it is pretty messed up these days.  HOWEVER, this past weekend I had a somewhat disturbing conversation with a good friend, who happens to be smart and a highly successful entrepreneur and businessman, which made me question my assumption and to rush this review onto the site to address what I fear are some widely held beliefs out there, which I find to be both unsupported by the facts and dangerous, re the state of healthcare in this country. Hang on…

 

Finally we have a book that we can unequivocally recommend for almost anyone involved in eldercare: from residents to families and loved ones, to healthcare workers at all levels, to regulators and politicians, to anyone who wants to take a few hours to learn more about nursing homes and explore their own humanity in and from that context.

Recommended Reading for those trying to change healthcare in this country:

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

 

This is a good, not great, book for a certain limited audience.  Then, why do I write about it and include it on a highly selective Recommended Reading list?  Because, it is a book that offers useful insights into, and a formula for, effecting viral communications. We need more GOOD content about healthcare in general and eldercare in particular out there in the stream of communications commerce, which will give us a better chance to reach more people in a shorter period of time with the message about how we can change healthcare in this country in our own lifetimes for our own benefit and the benefit of millions of others. 

     By: Elaine C. Pereira, published by IUniverse, Inc.

I must confess that I am tempted to use certain things about this book, which gave me pause, to withhold our recommendation for this book. However, that would not be fair to the author, who I believe has written a very moving, “from the heart” sketch of what it was like for her to take care of her mother as she journeyed into that “death by inches” she refers to when discussing her dad’s stroke, the indignities (for the victim/patient and the family) of a post-stroke life and his subsequent death. Along the way Ms. Pereira, a physical therapist with a saintly 2nd husband, loses both her brother and his wife to separate heart-rending illnesses, all the while “gaining” that not-to-be wished for “expertise” in eulogies, wills and house sales for the dead or dying.

 

By Sorrel King

Ms. King's 18th month old daughter Josie died in her arms in 2001, as a result of preventable medical errors at one of the country's best hospitals.  The resulting anger and grief-and feeling of impotency-- overwhelmed her; but, as inappropriate as it may sound to say this, she was lucky in one regard.  The errors occurred at a hospital that quickly owned up to its errors and saved Ms. King and her family the lengthy and insulting legal ordeal that almost any other institution then (and unfortunately still today) would have required for the family to get answers and accountability.

By Michelle Rhee

Ms. Rhee is, how shall I say, a fairly controversial figure. She is a former Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools and, among other things,  is currently the founder and CEO of  StudentsFirst, a political advocacy organization for education reform. In her first year, Ms. Rhee fired 98 central office staffers, 36 principals and 22 assistant principals and was responsible for I don't know how many teacher firings and resignations due to her self-described radical techniques.  Her book's title, RADICAL, is hardly rhetorical excess. 

This book on its face has little if anything to do with healthcare generally or Elder Care specifically.  BUT, there are a number of theories Mr. Silver posits, facts he espouses, conclusions he reaches and predictions and forecasts he makes that with just a little thought have MUCH to do with both.  Here are a few of my applicable takeaways for helping to improve the way we look at and use to improve healthcare for all Americans—young, old…rich, poor…liberal or conservative...native born or immigrant.  Here goes, with 4OurElders comments in bold:

4OurElders ...where perfection is the only acceptable goal

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