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The Final Journey

by Susan Pattinson

Complete Hospice Care For Departing Vaishnavas

Drawing upon the author’s extensive experience as a registered nurse specializing in hospice and palliative care, this book includes topics such as:

  • History of hospice care and present day practices and protocol
  • Allopathic and alternative options for decreasing pain and other disease symptoms
  • Emotional stages of the dying patient and how to assist
  • Caring for the patient, as well as the family members
  • How to become a better caregiver by becoming a better listener
  • Practical considerations and a “Back-to-Basics” approach to increasing one’s comfort
  • Compassionate care and how to increase one’s communication with the dying patient
  • How to recognize spiritual pain and how you can help
  • Respect for one’s spiritual desires and convictions

And much more…

The Final Journey is an excellent, user-friendly resource for anyone who is providing care to a terminally ill loved one. It is the only book of its kind to address the specific needs of a dying Vaishnava. However, since the printing of the first edition in 2001, The Final Journey has proven to assist those who hold other spiritual values and beliefs as well. It offers the caregiver practical ways to provide “quality of life” to anyone preparing to pass away from this world.
2nd edition; updated and revised (52 additional pages).





Reviewed by: Giriraj Swami
Sangita’s book is compassionate, practical, and wise—Krishna conscious.
—Giriraj Swami
Reviewed by: Robert Charles Powell
Sangita devi dasi delivers three intertwined books for the price of one. First, The Final Journey carefully depicts the natural dying process Second, Complete Hospice Care offers step-by-step – and eminently practical – guidance for terminal care. Third, the Departing Vaishnava addresses the spiritual and ritual needs of Chaitanya Vaishnavas, but – intriguingly – there is much here worth study by those of other faiths.. The Final Journey comes highly recommended to anyone who crosses paths with death.
—Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD Editorial Committee Member
Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling Past Member
COMISS Commission on Accreditation of Pastoral Services
Reviewed by: Jayadvaita Swami
I’d like to commend you for publishing the excellent book ‘The Final Journey.’ I’ve found it compassionate, thorough, professional, articulate, and obviously of great importance for Krishna conscious devotees. It’s a great contribution, and you’ve done a great service by publishing it.
—Jayadvaita Swami
Reviewed by: Gopaswami Das
It was a delight to read The Final Journey—Complete Hospice Care for Departing Vaishnavas by Susan Pattinson, RN (Sangita Devi Dasi) for three reasons. First, her obvious professional knowledge and experience in hospice care make this book a serious presentation on the subject. Thus it will serve as a practical tool for all concerned, as well as a reminder of how sensitive and qualified one should be for this service. Then, departing spiritualists can derive great benefit from modern medicine as it is applied to hospice care.
As a spiritualist herself, the author also gives us inspiring and useful insights on the importance of a good death. She goes deep into subjects like compassion toward spiritual pain, respect for one’s spiritual desires and convictions, importance of prayers and holy association, and relevant scriptural quotes. Finally, this book offers great hope to the aging Vaishnavas and will inspire members of our society to cooperate for this noble service of caring for others.
—Gopaswami Das (M.D., Qualified in Hospice Care)
Reviewed by: Brian O’Dea
The Final Journey—Complete Hospice Care for Departing Vaishnavas provides the reader with extensive, palliative guidelines for the delivery of care to devotees in the last stages of life. This book is a textbook template for caring for the dying. Using comfortable vocabulary and real examples from her own life, the author provides us with a sense of confidence to take on this most glorious service—attending to Vaishnavas during the most important phase of their lives. As a nurse, I found this manual can serve as a resource for any person, regardless of skill set. As a devotee, I see that this can cross denominations and be applied to any soul preparing to leave his body.
—Brian O’Dea, RN, BSN
Reviewed by: Srutakirti Das
During his final days in Vrindavan in 1977, Srila Prabhupada told his disciples, ‘Don’t think this won’t happen to you.’ In light of this instruction, I highly recommend this book as a most important contribution to our society.
—Srutakirti Das, Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant, 1972-75
Reviewed by: Dr. Thiruvalam P. Indira
I had the distinct pleasure of reading The Final Journey—Complete Hospice Care for Departing Vaishnavas. I found it very simple, informative, and appropriate for both devotees and non-devotees alike. As a Hospice Physician and Medical Director, I strongly recommend this book to families of terminally ill patients as well as to hospice professionals.
—Dr. Thiruvalam P. Indira, M.D.
Reviewed by: Dharini Dasi
Death is a prominent subject matter in Krishna conscious philosophy, since it is our chance to go back to Godhead. Yet, the actual process of dying is an uncomfortable topic that we tend to keep at a respectful distance. The Final Journey—Complete Hospice Care for Departing Vaishnavas is the first of its kind in ISKCON.
It is a much-needed, simple, and practical guide to care of the terminally ill from a Vaishnava perspective. Drawing on the author’s extensive experience as a hospice registered nurse, the book provides a wealth of detailed information. The author’s area of expertise is allopathic pain management for the terminally ill, and she argues convincingly that a drug’s long-term effect on a dying body is moot, while greater comfort increases the ability to hear and chant. Alternatives are provided as well. This book takes the reader step-by-step through the entire process, and there is no doubt that it is an invaluable resource for everyone.
—Dharini Dasi, M.A. Applied Sociology, Attorney at Law
Reviewed by: Sarah Caner Schofield Ph.D
‘If someone is physically, emotionally, and mentally pain free, has other symptoms well managed, and is rightly situated spiritually, he will experience an auspicious, most glorious passing away.’ So affirms Susan Pattinson, RN (Sangita Devi Dasi) in The Final Journey—Complete Hospice Care for Departing Vaishnavas, where she gives relevant information for the care of the dying gained from years of practice as a hospice nurse and practice of sadhana bhakti under Srila Prabhupada, her spiritual master. Indeed, the book is a veritable ‘gold mine’ of valuable information. Her presentation, showing how the aforesaid can be realized, is exhaustive and profoundly sensitive. Painstakingly she indicates how hospice care for certain terminally ill can facilitate that glorious death for which all Vaishnavas aspire.
—The late Sarah Caner Schofield, Ph.D. (Saranagati Devi Dasi)
Former Director of Volunteers, Albert Einstein Medical Center Hospice