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Changes in health can be overwhelming.

Get empowered to make the best decisions for you with Dr. Jeanne Lee's bestselling book, Own Your Care: A Family Guide to Navigating Complex Illness, Declining Health, or Unexpected Prognosis.

Book Summary

How can you make the most of living with declining health or strength? How can you manage your day-to-day life while living with a critical diagnosis or unexpected prognosis?  How can you make the best healthcare decisions for you when you're feeling lost?


Own Your Care offers patients and family members a guide to finding answers for what may feel like an overwhelming situation. Palliative care physician Dr. Jeanne Lee provides readers with expert guidance for managing common physical symptoms associated with advanced illness, making major healthcare decisions, handling the social aspects of living day to day with health issues, and coping with the emotional and spiritual struggles of life-altering medical news.


Filled with straightforward answers to common questions, Own Your Care empowers patients and family members to advocate for the information, assistance, and level of medical care most beneficial to them. This warm, authentic, and authoritative guide is designed to give peace of mind and a practical path forward for anyone experiencing uncertainty during the most vulnerable times of their life.

Advance Praise

"Dr. Jeanne Lee has written a definitive road map to help patients and their families navigate a healthcare system under siege during times of uncertainty and turmoil. Like Dr. Lee, I encounter patients who didn't know what to ask their doctors or what answers to expect while making critical life-care decisions, especially during medical crises and end-of-life care. Her book explains the practice of palliative care, a specialty both Dr. Lee and I have chosen, and I applaud her commonsense, empathetic, and understanding approach. And best of all I admire her comforting voice at a time when our patients need us the most."—Edward T. Creagan, MD, FAAHPM; John and Roma Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine, professor of medical oncology, Mayo Clinic Medical School; author of Farewell: Vital End-of-Life Questions with Candid Answers from a Leading Palliative and Hospice Physician and How NOT to Be My Patient: A Physician's Secrets for Staying Healthy and Surviving Any Diagnosis


"Dr. Lee incorporates...humility throughout [Own Your Care], all while addressing important topics our society tends to avoid talking about. She offers practical advice that empowers you with the tools required to have effective end-of-life conversations. An important and enjoyable read."—Erin Nielsen, LCSW, supervisor of social work services and system educator, care management, University of Colorado Hospital
"Own Your Care by Jeanne Lee is a one-stop source for a family looking for guidance as they support a loved one with a serious illness. Although written for the family, many people living with a serious illness could find this helpful, and healthcare providers would also find this a nice refresher on how to support those struggling in their community."—F. Amos Bailey, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, professor of medicine, emeritus director, Master of Science in Palliative Care/Interprofessional Palliative Care Certificate programs; emeritus director, community-based Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus


 "Dr. Lee's book is a gem! It reads like a trusted friend or adviser is guiding you and your family through what can be a difficult and confusing time. Chock-full of practical and sound advice, this should be required reading for every family!"—Dr. Mary Lynn McPherson, professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, University of Maryland

"This is a humane, balanced, expert guide to many of the challenging questions and issues that arise in caring for a loved one with serious illness. There are no simple answers here, but rather a thoughtful and compassionate approach for patients and families to find their own way through this phase of life with an expert guide to help them."—Susan Block, MD, professor of psychiatry and medicine, Harvard Medical School; founding chair, emerita, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital

"At some point in our lives almost everyone will face a serious life-limiting illness in themselves or a loved one, and many will find that our healthcare system doesn't provide adequate guidance around what matters most. This is a well thought-out, clearly written, and practical guide for people facing serious illness that will empower them to get more from their healthcare providers and to steer the course of their illness to one consistent with their preferences and values."—Benzi Kluger, MD, MS; professor of neurology and medicine and director of Neuropalliative Care Service at the University of Rochester; president of International Neuropalliative Care Society

"A good doctor will ask, 'Do you have any questions?' A great doctor will say, 'Let me tell you some of the questions I'd ask if I were in your situation.' Dr. Jeanne Lee is obviously both a great doctor and a skilled author. By providing answers to [many] of the most commonly asked (or what ought to be commonly asked) questions in simple, accessible language, Dr. Lee provides a guide for patients and families who are in the midst of dealing with a new, serious diagnosis; a change in a chronic health condition; or an overall decline in health. Own Your Care offers readers the tools to help ensure that they (or their loved ones) get the right treatment in the right place at the right time and to assist them in remaining nimble as their health and goals of care change over time."—Red Hoffman, MD, ND, FACS

"Eventually, we or our loved ones will face serious illness. How can we maintain a sense of control when things seem out of control? This book by Dr. Lee is full of practical information, wisdom, and guidance to empower you to navigate this new territory. Own Your Care addresses common healthcare themes, giving insight into determining how to best personalize care options based on your or your loved one's values. I recommend that everyone read this book to assist in guiding you or your loved one through healthcare decision-making and advanced care planning."—Judy Knudson MPAS, PA-C, BSN; assistant professor in palliative medicine at the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus and member of the National Consensus Project Steering Committee 4th edition

"Like Handbook for Mortals, written a decade ago by Dr. Joanne Lynn, Dr. Joan Harrold, and Janice Lynn Schuster, Own Your Care: A Family Guide to Navigating Complex Illness, Changing Health, or Unexpected Prognosis by Dr. Jeanne Lee will empower patients and their families to define their goals, hopes, and worries and communicate these to their caregivers. It is a comprehensive guide for all the areas patients and families worry about and have to navigate as they journey through a serious illness, including the challenge of creating advance directives. [This book] is accessible, practical, and useful, validating the many different choices about care that patients make. I will recommend it to my palliative care and oncology colleagues and the patients and families with whom I consult."—Janet Abrahm, MD, professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; institute physician, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; author of Comprehensive Guide to Supportive and Palliative Care for Patients with Cancer

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