Families who would want to honour a parent's request to not die in hospital, encounter obstacles that can defeat even accomplished health professionals. Autumns' Grace is a story that spans a ten-month period as the Campbell family comes to terms with the father's diagnosis of cancer. The diagnosis seems a particularly unfair blow to a veterinarian who has lived a very healthy lifestyle. In addition he has treated his animal patients and their owners with more respect and compassion than many of the human health professionals are willing or able to provide. The adult children (two nurses, veterinarian, and teacher) confront a health care system they thought they knew, and familial relationships that they had avoided for decades. Generational pulls and career conflicts challenge the siblings as they support their parents, conduct their own family and professional lives, and are forced to face critical situations and the decisions that they must make. They muddle through with varying doses of tenacity, courage, humour and hope.
Bonnie Lendrum is a wife, mother, nurse, gardener, volunteer, and ballet student living in Carlisle, Ontario. The latter activity is an attempt to defy the age-associated effects of gravity. A former community nurse, she has cared for patients and families in the ICU and in their homes, directed large departments, and participated in research and teaching. Her writing is informed by the experiences that worry her, like palliative care and its delivery in rural communities. Her first published work was a chapter in Nursing Management in Canada. Autumn's Grace is her first work of fiction.
"Bonnie Lendrum provides valuable insights into the heart-wrenching struggles that families may experience as they strive for their loved ones to have the best possible end-of-life care. Compassionate and compelling, this book will motivate health care professionals to continue their work toward a seamless and coordinated health care system that can best meet the patient's and their families' needs."--Mary Davies, MSCN, member of the June Callwood Circle of Outstanding Hospice Volunteers"Autumn's Grace is a rarity--a novel that gives the reader a close-up and at times blindingly honest view of a family's end-of-life journey. The novel explores the emotions of each family member as they try to deal with an unexpected diagnosis of cancer--their fear, anger, frailty, love, resentment, strength and loneliness. This book is a valuable resource for anyone wanting to understand the complexity of emotions facing what for many of us is one of the most difficult times in our lives and one that few of us are ever prepared to face."--Janet Napper, Past Executive Director, Hospice Association of Ontario"This novel provides a bold and realistic exposé of the health care system as it deals with diagnosis, treatment, and care of someone facing the prospect of a complex terminal illness. The subject of death and dying are sensitively handled throughout, but this is not a recreational read for the squeamish because little is left to the imagination in the descriptions of medical technologies and the maintenance of bodily functions following surgery. The author is clearly well versed in the clinical intricacies of her setting, and is an astute observer of the impact of a pending tragedy on relationships within a three generational family. This is a novel that should be added to the reading list for students of health services as it raises a number of important contemporary issues in hospitals and especially in palliative care." --Judith M. Hibberd, RN (Retired), Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta "I highly recommend this book and respect Bonnie Lendrum's ability to help everyone appreciate what 'patient care' is all about."--Lorine Besel, Past Vice-President Nursing, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal
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