Book Review: Notes from the Waiting Room Managing a Loved One”s End –of-Life Hospitalization by Bart Windrum

Book Review: Notes from the Waiting Room Managing a Loved One”s End –of-Life Hospitalization by Bart Windrum

I have yet to lose a parent, or been put in the situation where I was responsible for decisions relating to a dying persons care, so this book was something I couldn’t relate to on an experience level but it gives you lots of information on decisions I will probably need to make for my parents, documents that are necessary for your loved one to control his end of life care, and insight into how hospitals, doctors and nurses work.

Bart Windrum relates the frustrating, confusing experiences he had in losing both his mother and father. And despite their family having many necessary documents and prior discussions on how is parents wanted their end of life scenario to go, in both cases, reality fell short.

In this book Bart Windrum lays out all the knowledge he has gained in order to help prepare you for when you are faced with what he was.

A few of things he outlines in detail are: 

  • How tough decision making is
  • How hospitals perceive good care
  • How doctors do rounds
  • How communication is relayed between hospital staff
  • Resources you should know about that are available to the family of the terminally ill
  • The documentation that your loved one should do prior to being admitted to the hospital
  • Where to find help in the hospital
  • How hospitals view a patient’s death
  • Alternative ways to pass other than in a hospital
  • Ethical considerations

I was surprised by some of the conflicts of interest on the part of the hospital and the patient that are explained in the book. For example hospitals are ranked and one of the criteria is that people get better and leave (not die). So it is in the hospitals best interest (ranking) to keep you alive at all costs, which in most situations is a good thing. But if you are in the hospital at the end of a long productive life and you have a terminal condition, and just want to pass painlessly in peace, your desire is at odds with the hospital and staff. These and other conflicts are what Mr. Windrum walks you through so that you will have a better understanding, less shock, and a better end of life scenario for you and your loved one.


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