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Caring for Dying People of Different Faiths (Book Review)

Easter 2008

From triple helix - Easter 2008 - Caring for Dying People of Different Faiths (Book Review) [p18]

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Caring for Dying People of Different Faiths - Linda Emmanuel and Julia Neuberger - Radcliffe Publishing Ltd (third edition) 2004 - £19.95 Pb 104pp - ISBN 1 85775 9451

This useful volume is written in a straightforward style intended for healthcare professionals. It aims to address the paradox quoted: 'dying well means living well – that also says that we are all different and yet all the same'.

As people come close to death, many will need to focus on significant aspects of life. Julia Neuberger recognises that all who prepare for this final event share a position of vulnerability, but not necessarily the same concerns. The preferred mode of dying and care of the body after death depend on a host of religious and cultural factors. At this difficult time the ignorance of healthcare professionals may be most marked, and can inadvertently cause offence when dealing with unfamiliar beliefs.

This overview conveys a 'sense of the rightness of dying well' and avoids simplistic generalisations, by focusing on the journey of the individual. Practical advice is offered for those dealing with representatives of all major religions and none. Considering the subject matter, this is not gloomy, but provides a surprisingly light and uplifting read. Perhaps it is time to rediscover a theology of death and dying, so that we can understand what John Wesley meant when he said 'my people die well'.

Article written by Paul Dakin

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