Oscar the Cat - a tabby/white mix - who was one of six cats living with the patients at the Steere Nursing Home in Rhode Island - became famous when his habit of sitting with dying patients in their last stage of life was written up in the news media. Dr David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, who's also an attending physician at Steere, wrote up his findings about Oscar's behavior and published it in the New England Journal of Medicine. (NEJM)
Dr Dosa expanded his article for NEJM into a small book, called "Making Rounds with Oscar", where he tries to determine if Oscar has a true gift for knowing when a person is near death. The dying often give off a sweet smell that Dr Dosa thinks Oscar may have a heightened awareness of and that's responsible for his attentiveness to the dying.
But Dr Dosa's book is more than just a look at Oscar. It's also a look at the patients at Steere and the families of the patients and the staff at the home who provide loving care in the patients' final days. Most of the patients at Steere are there because of dementia and had been living with their families until they entered Steere. Dr Dosa talks about the caregivers - both at home and at Steere - and the almost superhuman jobs they do to ensure the best quality of life possible for those suffering from dementia.
Dr Dosa gives us a wonderful look at those caregivers who tend to the sick and at Oscar the Cat who gently sits with them at their deaths. A very good book.
on August 25, 2011
I'm not big on cats (More of a dog person really) but I read a review on the book and it sounded interesting. A cat that can predict death? Sounds gory but wow. The writing was very easy reading so I bought the book and was hooked into actually reading a book about dementia. Sounds depressing but honestly it was the most uplighting book I have ever read about dementia. Let's face it, who's going to read a book about dementia but would you read a book about a cat that predicts death? Well.... I'll let you answer that question. Yes!! There's a reason why this book is on the best seller's list. It's a very easy reading, sucks you in type of story ,...about a cat that hangs out in a nursing home. If dementia has ever hit your life...oh I hate when people say you should read this book...but honestly do yourself a favour and just pick it up. It won't be a waste of time and the photo of Oscar on the front is pretty cute as well.
on November 25, 2013
I found this story very easy to read. It was heart-warming, and sad all at once. Oscar has truly brought comfort in the final hours of so many of his "patients." It was absolutely amazing to read of the impact he has had on staff and residents at Steere House. It was also an insightful look into the lives of dementia patients. Oscar's care and comforting presence reached past the unraveling minds of those living there, and found a place in their hearts. A great book.
on May 21, 2012
Wonderful book. I'm a cat lover and have worked in nursing home so am aware how much animals mean to residents who are unable to take their own pets with them to a home.
Oscar brought comfort to many residents who were alone and was always to be found curled up beside them in their final moments.
Dr Dosa talks about caregivers at Steere and families coping with losing their loved ones to Alzheimers disease. Nice reading, not full of medical terminology.