SCIENCES

Death Is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End

Avery. Feb. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9780525542841. $27. MED
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Kerr (CEO & chief medical officer at Hospice Buffalo) reveals the sense of calm and peacefulness that end-of-life dreams and visions bring to the dying. Following up on his 2014 article in an issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine, Kerr interviewed the dying themselves, asking them how they perceived their own dreams and visions. This book also follows a 2015 TEDx Talk and a 2016 documentary on this same topic. Kerr highlights only a small handful of the more than 1,200 patients he has interviewed over the course of a decade, but these few vignettes reveal the themes prevalent in pre-death dreams. In each story, readers see both patients and their families find peace in the transition from life to death. Kerr broadly describes the end-of-life dream and visions by those unable to give consent, whether owing to dementia or reduced mental capacity. Their dreams, although different in scope, still highlight many of the same themes prevalent in others, and in the end, also helped lead to a peaceful death.
VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in end-of-life care and comfort for those dying and their bereaved families, without an emphasis on religion or metaphysics.

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