Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life's End
From the President Emerita/Senior Adviser of Compassion & Choices, THE guide to achieving the positive end-of-life experience you want and deserve.
It's hard to talk about death in America. But even though the topic has been taboo, life's end is an eventual reality.
So why not shape it to our values? FINISH STRONG is for those of us who want an end-of-life experience to match the life we've enjoyed. We know we should prepare, but are unsure how to think and talk about it, how to live true to our values and priorities, and how to make our wishes stick.
The usual advice about advance directives and conversations is important but woefully inadequate. This book describes concrete action in the here and now to help live our best lives to the end.
FINISH STRONG will guide you through:
- Finding a partner-doctor to honor your values and beliefs with humanity, deference and candor.
- Identifying what matters most as vigor wanes and stating your priorities.
- Having meaningful conversations with doctors and family about expectations and wishes.
- Staying off the "overtreatment conveyor belt."
- Knowing when "slow medicine" is the best option to maintain quality of life.
- Navigating home hospice, the ultimate healing experience.
Written with candor and clarity by a nurse, physician assistant and attorney who became a leading advocate for end-of-life options, this book can help you FINISH STRONG.
About the author
Over more than five decades, Barbara Coombs Lee worked in healthcare as a clinician, policy-maker and advocate. Her indelible bedside experiences forged a deep respect for individual values and beliefs and eventually led her to a career in law and health policy. For the last 25 years, she has advocated for initiatives that allow individuals a full range of options and much greater agency in their healthcare decisions.
Barbara's work in public policy culminated in her roles as chief executive officer and now President Emerita/Senior Adviser of Compassion & Choices, the nation's oldest and largest organization working to empower everyone to chart their end-of-life journey. Thousands of personal experiences and the teachings of scholars and thought leaders around the globe inform her perspective. She is a seasoned writer, speaker and commentator.
Barbara's passion for transforming the end-of-life experience by informing and empowering patients infuses her new book FINISH STRONG. She calls for all Americans to join a patient-driven movement to dismantle the institutional and cultural barriers to living well to the very end.
She lives in Oregon.
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About the Author
"Finish Strong is the clarion call for the end-of-life choice movement just as Our Bodies, Ourselves was for the women's movement. Barbara Coombs Lee's book is an important book, full of candid, helpful advice for people navigating the final stage of their lives."
-- Jeanne Phillips, "Dear Abby" advice columnist
"There is no more authoritative or informed individual than Barbara Coombs Lee to lead us in the battle for a peaceful and dignified end-of-life journey. She has been at the forefront since she helped draft the nation's first medical-aid-in-dying law in Oregon. She covers all the issues we must address--from opening the conversations with our families to informing doctors about the kind of care we want at the end of our lives. Read Finish Strong and use it as a guide to consider your own final decisions."
--Diane Rehm, former host and executive producer of The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU/NPR
"All of us either have a serious illness now or will some time in our future. We will all be called upon to serve as caregivers or care providers. Finish Strong is a book that every one of us must read, and that we'll all refer to repeatedly over the course of our lifetimes."
--David Muller, M.D., Dean for Medical Education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York
"Finish Strong will help people who want to pass the gift of life back into the hands of their God thankfully and with dignity. It is a blessing."
--Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
"Finish Strong serves as a 'field manual' for exploration of autonomy and self-determination in healthcare during the closing years of life."
--Gov. Barbara Roberts, Oregon Governor 1991-95 and author of Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology
"This book is a guide for people who want to help their doctors see them as partners. It's for people who want their doctors to talk to them with candor and kindness and tailor medical treatment to whatever is most important to them in the final chapter of their lives."
--Haider Wairrach, M.D., author of Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life
"Adults have the right to decide their own course of treatment at the end of life. Barbara Coombs Lee's wise and compassionate book shows how best to do that."
--Betty Rollin, author of Last Wish and First, You Cry
"Barbara Coombs Lee's accounts of experiencing a good death in Finish Strong include the story of my wife, Brittany Maynard. Brittany's determination to have control over her life's end was possible because of Barbara's advocacy for patients' autonomy and her determination to challenge misguided norms.
"As a society, we need to acknowledge that a positive dying experience should not be left to chance. Barbara shows that it is not something to fear, instead, it's something we should revere. Experiencing a good death is merely the conclusion of a good life."
--Dan Diaz, devoted husband of Brittany Maynard, advocate for end-of-life options
"Finish Strong includes beautiful and powerful stories of people facing the end of life in so many different but strong ways."
--Reverend Alexa Fraser, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling, Virginia