Ira Byock biography

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Ira Byock

Ira Byock

Ira Byock Biography

Ira Byock serves as Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer for the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health and Services, a 35 hospital health system serving communities across 5 western states. Dr. Byock advances efforts to measure, monitor and improve whole-person health care systemwide. He is a practicing physician and is based in Torrance, CA.

Dr. Byock has authored numerous peer-reviewed academic articles on the ethics and practice of care. His research has led to conceptual frameworks for the lived experience of advanced illness, subjective quality of life measures, and simple, effective life-completion counseling. His leadership in development of groundbreaking prototypes for concurrent care of people through the end of life has been foundational to advancing patient-centered care.

Byock's first book, Dying Well, (1997) has become a standard in the field of hospice and palliative care. The Four Things That Matter Most, (2004) is used as a counseling tool widely by palliative care and hospice programs, as well as within pastoral care. His most recent book, The Best Care Possible (2012) tackles the crisis that surrounds serious illness and dying in America and his quest to transform care through the end of life.

Ira Byock's website

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Interview

Ira Byock explains the philosophy behind palliative care and how, in many ways, it is a solution to the needless suffering many Americans experience before death.

Why did you decide to write this book?
Despite all the advances in medicine, far too many people who are seriously ill suffer needlessly and end up dying badly.

America's health care system is actually a disease-treatment system. People's health - including their physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being, is often ignored in the quest to preserve life at all costs. In the process of battling disease, people often experience needless suffering, sometimes dying sooner than they should, sometimes lingering in a state of prolonged dying that few people would want.

Dying will never be easy. Similarly, caring for a loved one who is in the waning phases of life is inherently hard. All of us will eventually face the end of life, but neither dying nor caregiving has to be as hard as they are today. It would seem irresponsible for me to keep what I have learned from patients and families and my experience as a doctor over all these years to myself. In a sense I am but a conduit, learning from patients and their families and passing along to my contemporaries the insights I have gained

What do you mean by "the best care possible?"
When we or someone we love becomes seriously ill, we all want the best care possible for ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Ira Byock at BookBrowse
The Best Care Possible jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Ira Byock but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Erica Brown

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    Dr. Erica Brown is a writer and educator who works as the scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She is the author of Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, and a ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Best Care Possible

    Try:
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    by Erica Brown

  • Atul Gawande

    Atul Gawande

    Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, is a surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He is Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Best Care Possible

    Try:
    Better
    by Atul Gawande

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