Cover image for My mother's hip : lessons from the world of eldercare
My mother's hip : lessons from the world of eldercare
Margolies, Luise.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : Temple University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xv, 339 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC954.4 .M37 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Some 400,000 hip fractures occur every year, the vast majority among the elderly; all too often these fractures are associated with death or severe disability. After her mother's double hip fracture, Luisa Margolies immersed herself in identifying and coordinating the services and professionals needed to provide critical care for an elderly person. She soon realized that the American medical system is ill prepared to deal with the long-term care needs of our graying society. The heart of My Mother's Hip is taken up with the author's day-to-day observations as her mother's condition worsened, then improved only to worsen again, while her father became increasingly anxious and disoriented. As both a devoted daughter and a skilled anthropologist, Margolies vividly renders her interactions with physicians, nurses, hospital workers, nursing home administrators, the Medicare bureaucracy, home care providers, and her parents. In the Lessons chapter that follows each episode, she discusses in a broader context the weighty decisions that adult children must make on their parents' behalf and the emotional toll their responsibility takes. Here she addresses the complex practical issues that commonly arise in such situations: understanding the consequences of hip fracture and its treatment, preparing health care proxies and advanced directives, enabling elders to remain at home, and the heartbreaking dilemma of prolonging life. Like many adult children, Margolies learned her lessons about eldercare in the midst of crises. This book is intended to ease the information-gathering and decision-making processes for others involved in eldercare. Author note: Luisa Margolies is Clinical Research Director of the Hip Fracture Research Project of South Florida; she serves as a consultant on aging-in-place as well as housing, assistive technology, and universal design for the elderly. She also is Director of Ediciones Venezolanas de Antropologia in Caracas, Venezuela.

Author Notes

Luisa Margolies is Clinical Research Director of the Hip Fracture Research Project of South Florida.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Because people are living longer, they are much more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and the resulting bone loss. As a result, hip fractures in the elderly make up a modern epidemic: some 400,000 fractures occur annually, mostly among the aged. An anthropologist by training, Margolies (clinical research director, Hip Fracture Research Project of South Florida) provides both a personal narrative of her experiences caring for her mother, who suffered a hip fracture, and a well-documented factual presentation of the medical and health issues related to eldercare in America. She writes that her "mother's hip is every mother's hip," and this is certainly true: many of us will be able to identify with the author as she details her mother's journey through a difficult and flawed healthcare system. Topics addressed in the nonbiographical chapters include hip fracture, nursing homes, advance directives, daughters as caregivers, prolonging life, and residential design for the elderly. Although her text is at times a bit strident, the author provides valuable lessons. Enthusiastically recommended for public and health sciences libraries.-Linda M.G. Katz, Drexel Univ. Health Sciences Libs., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Margolies (clinical research director, Hip Fracture Research Project of South Florida) here describes the slow, steady decline of her parents. After first recounting the double hip fracture that claimed her mother, the author details chaotic recurring journeys among disconnected parts of the health care system. Margolies ends the book with the story of her father's longer but considerably calmer journey to his own death. The inexorable trajectory of her parents' demise provides readers with a clear picture of the complexity and fragmentation of the US health care system, and clearly depicts the frustration, confusion, and despair of adult children who attempt to assist their elderly loved ones in negotiating that system. The book is intensely personal and strikingly objective, a dichotomy achieved by its division into descriptions of events and experiences, followed by "lessons" that explicate needed reforms in US health care. That the reader gets lost in the large, constantly changing cast of characters and medical details serves to make even more real the chaotic nature of the experience of illness and dying for elders and their families. Well referenced and well written, with smoothly flowing prose, this book will be a useful addition to collections that serve health sciences students or the general public. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels. T. D. DeLapp emeritus, University of Alaska Anchorage

Table of Contents

Walter M. Bortz II, M.D.
Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: My Mother's Hipp. 1
Chapter 1 Coral Bay Memorial Hospital: "I broke my hips"p. 7
Lesson 1 Hip Fracture, the Silent Killer: The New Hip-Fracture Epidemicp. 30
Chapter 2 Sacred Heart Hospital: "She's not in her room. She's in therapy right now"p. 49
Lesson 2 Advance Directives or Misdirectives? Interpreting a Parent's Last Wishesp. 90
Chapter 3 Home: "I didn't think I would live to come home"p. 98
Lesson 3 Who Cares? Daughters Care for Their Elderly Parentsp. 130
Chapter 4 The Palms at Palm-Aire: "Everyone here is berserk"p. 148
Lesson 4 Nursing Homes Are Dangerous to Your Health: The Medical Model for Housing the Elderlyp. 176
Chapter 5 Coral Bay II: "You're ready to leave. Your condition is stable"p. 197
Lesson 5 Enough Is Enough: Prolonging Living or Prolonging Dying?p. 225
Chapter 6 From LovingCare to Victoria Park: "Yes, we have a Medicare bed"p. 237
Lesson 6 I'd Rather Age in Place: Residential Design for Elder Livingp. 273
Chapter 7 Boca Raton Medical Center: "Your mother's condition is critical"p. 286
Lesson 7 Who Decides? Resuscitation and an Equitable Decisionp. 297
Chapter 8 Heartbroken: "I have only my memories"p. 300
Epilogue: En Routep. 323
Referencesp. 331