These books and websites provide tools and actionable advice about caregiving:

  • Algorithms Can Treat Physician Fallability
    Yes, physicians are fallible. They are human, just like you and me. And the intense pressure of their profession often flaws and distracts their thinking despite their best efforts to be clinical.In fact, half of all physicians are below average (and half are above average of course). Dr. Jan Poloniecki observed that “… even if all surgeons are equally good, half of them will have below average results; one will have the worst results and those results will be a long way below average,” according to the British Medical Journal.
  • Source of Authoritative, Useful Caregiving Advice
    United Hospital Fund is a New York-based non-profit health services research organization at It publishes newsletters, reports and presentations offering concise and practical advice to caregivers about dealing with many everyday issues confronting caregivers and patients anywhere in the U.S. healthcare system. Much of the information is how-to and do-it-yourself, and is a great resource for anyone actively involved in the care and treatment of a patient. For example there is “Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care to Their Spouses” and “Hospital Discharge Planning.”For the most part you can ignore the New York origin of this information because it pertinent throughout the nation.
  • Orientation to Caregiving for Brain Tumor Patients
    This is the closest publication I have found so far that can be considered a User’s Manual for any segment of healthcare. It is a practical guide that can benefit any patient or caregiver embarking on the journey of brain tumor care and treatment. First published in 2007 by the University of California, San Francisco, the handbook is now in its second edition and should be available at the Bellingham, Washington, PeaceHealth Cancer Center. In my own experience it took me 18 months to learn what is in this handbook, which I could have learned in just two or three hours of reading.It is too bad there are not similar handbooks for many other diseases to ease the burden of suddenly stricken patients and caregivers.
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, MD
    A wide-ranging healthcare book that never the less brings everything together in a helpful way for elderly readers. The author explores the history and development of assisted living and nursing homes, and shines a bright light on the subject of gerontology and its place in care of the elderly. An excellent writer and long-time contributor to New Yorker magazine, Gawande’s book has garnished rave reviews from every reader I have spoken to about it.Published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Co., New York, N.Y., $26 and available from Amazon, Village Books in Fairhaven, WA, and most bookstores.
  • You Bet Your Life! by Trisha Torrey
    Here’s a book I wish I could have written. Or barring that, I wish I had discovered it years ago. Its title says a lot about it: “You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes” by Trisha Torrey. Read more…
  • Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement (WAHA)
  • The Patient Advocate’s Handbook: 300 Questions And Answers To Help You Care For Your Loved One At The Hospital and At Home, James Thomas Williams, Panglossian Press, 2010
  • The Not So Patient Advocate: How to Get the Health Care You Need Without Fear or Frustration, Ellen Menard, Bardolf & Company, 2009
  • The Fearless Caregiver: How to Get the Best Care for Your Loved One and Still Have A Life of Your Own, Gary Barg, Capital Books, 2003
  • The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life, Ira Babcock, MD, Avery/Penguin, 2012

Other Articles by and about Robert A. Duke:

  • December 2014 – “HIPAA: The High Cost of Privacy,” by Robert A DukeWhat do moths and health information privacy have in common? Metamorphosis.The larval stage of health information privacy was the 1996 Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Today, HIPAA has morphed into a destructive pest that terrifies healthcare providers and impedes care and treatment of patients. Read article…
  • October 2014 – “Patient Portal: A Magic Gateway to Healthcare Reform,” by Robert A DukeSome famous portals include Alice’s rabbit hole to wonderland, the Chronicles of Narnia’s wardrobe, and Star Trek’s many black holes. A patient’s portal is an online door or window into your electronic medical records (EMR). Read article…
  • September 2014 – “Death: Have It Your Way,” by Robert A. DukeConspicuous billboards would appear around Whatcom County reading, “DEATH: HAVE IT YOUR WAY,”* in the future of healthcare as visualized by July 2014’s Palliative Care Conference in Bellingham. That suggestion was greeted with applause…
    Read article…
  • August 2014 – “Whatcom: Chronic & Acute Whatcom’s Beloved Healthcare Myth,” by Robert A. DukeThe name itself, Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisor (SHIBA), sounds like a godsend to the sick and dying and their caregivers desperate to understand their health insurance. Read article…
  • July 2014 – “Worse Than Cancer? Getting Needed Care, Says Local Author,” by Bob Schober
    It started with a scream.In 2009, Shearlean Duke was on safari in Kenya with her husband, Robert Duke, when white-hot pain seared her leg and traveled up to her breast and arm. It soon abated, but she thought it was snakebite. It was much worse. Read more…This article first appeared in Whatcom Watch in print monthly.