this little book, I admit, I choked up a bit. My father passed away nearly a year ago, and for the last week of his life, he was unable to speak much at all. We went through a lot of guesswork trying to figure out how best to meet his needs and keep him comfortable, and that was frustrating for us and for him. All we wanted was to know how to serve him, and I've often wondered if he got what he needed in that last week.
This book is one that I consider a valuable tool, and I wish I'd had it a year ago. Its official title is, "Communication for the Cognizant, Nonverbal Patient," and it's geared toward patients who have lost their ability to speak, but still know what's going on around them. Each page has pictures that illustrate how the patient is feeling, along with a phrase next to it. The patient can point to the picture that indicates how they are feeling, or what they need. Some examples are:
I would like to brush my teeth.
Please turn my TV off.
I feel cold.
I need the bathroom.
Each section is broken down into specifics - comfort, feelings, food, drink, and visits. The patient has the opportunity to ask his visitors how they are doing, to ask for current news, to indicate that he's in pain, to ask for something specific to drink, all by pointing to the picture that illustrates that item. The pictures are large enough to be clearly visible, but the book itself is small and won't take up a ton of room or get cumbersome.
As a person begins that final walk on their life's journey, part of that shutting-down process is a loss of verbal skills. I saw it with my father, and my mom, who is a hospice volunteer, has noticed it time and again. I highly recommend this book if you have a loved one in this situation. They will feel more empowered to communicate, and you will know you've done what they most need.
I received a copy of this book for review, but I was more than happy to share my honest feelings about it.