Decision Making near the End of Life: Issues, Developments, and Future Directions, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Decision Making near the End of Life

Issues, Developments, and Future Directions, 1st Edition

Edited by James L. Werth Jr., Dean Blevins


416 pages

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Decision Making near the End of Life provides a comprehensive overview of the recent developments that have impacted decision-making processes within the field of end-of-life care. The most current developments in all aspects of major underlying issues such as public attitudes, the impact of media, bioethics, and legal precedent provide the background information for the text. The authors examine various aspects of end-of-life choices and decision-making, including communication (between and among family, medical personnel, the dying person), advance directives, and the emergence of hospice and palliative care institutions. The book also explores a variety of psychosocial considerations that arise in decision-making, including religion/spirituality, family caregiving, disenfranchised and diverse groups, and the psychological and psychiatric problems that can impact both the dying person and loved ones. Case studies and first-person stories about decision-making, written by professionals in the field, bring a uniquely personal touch to this valuable text.


"In the 40 plus years that I have been in the field, there has been an explosion of books and articles. Few have been as academically sound as this one. It is truly an excellent effort…an excellent text. It is an important contribution to the field. While it is decidedly academic and would greatly serve those in academia, it has many gems for those who are not academic. It is a must for professionals in the field, as well as academics. I highly recommend this book." - Gerry Cox, Ph.D., Illness, Crisis & Loss

"I truly enjoyed this book. The authors' language and organization exhibit clarity and made for an easy read. It was very informative and would be a perfect textbook for a gerontology course or a bioethics course. This book will greatly benefit health professionals, educators, students, and people dealing with end-of-life decisions about themselves or loved ones." - Shilpa Shashidhara, PhD., MABMH, University of North Texas, in Activities, Adaptation and Aging

Table of Contents

Werth, Blevins, Introduction. Field, How People Die in the United States. Webb, Effects of the Media/Public Attitudes. Cerminara, Legal Overview. Keespies, Preston, Miller, End-of-Life Choices. Chang, The Process of Medical Decision-making. Prevost, Miller, Dying in Institutions. Ditt, Advance Directives. Werth, Psychological/Psychiatric Issues. Wells, Allen, Family/Caregiving. Doka, Religion/Spirituality. Hayslip, Diversity/Disenfranchised/Oppressed Groups. Volicier, Decisions By and For Adults with Questionable Mental Capacity. Kazak, End-of-Life Decisions and Children. Crow, Raye, Personal Stories. Orentlicher, Conclusion.

About the Editors

James L. Werth, Jr., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor, Counseling Psychology Program, Department of Psychology, and Fellow, Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology at The University of Akron. Dr. Werth is also a volunteer psychologist and group co-facilitator at Violet’s Cupboard, a support group for gay and bisexual men with HIV/AIDS.

Dean Blevins, MPH, Ph.D., is an Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a Postdoctoral Fellow, Centers for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.

About the Series

Series in Death, Dying, and Bereavement

Volumes published in the Series in Death, Dying and Bereavement are representative of the multidisciplinary nature of the intersecting fields of death studies, suicidology, end-of-life care, and grief counseling.

The series meets the needs of clinicians, researchers, paraprofessionals, pastoral counselors, and educators by providing cutting edge research, theory, and best practices on the most important topics in these fields—for today and for tomorrow.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gerontology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Death & Dying