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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bloomfield Hills native writes book about handling hospitals


First-time author Mary Peabody-Soper has released "The Hospital Handbook: Strategies For Surviving Your Hospital Stay" and the companion book, "The Patient Journal."
These books were written to provide empowerment to hospital patients and patient advocates.
Widowed at age 24, Peabody-Soper has two children and three grandchildren. She has been through a variety of hospital experiences with family members and friends as well as her own hospitalizations for lower back injuries and heart by-pass surgery.
From each of her hospital encounters, various lessons have emerged regarding how to do it better.
"My children, sisters, and I have had many conversations and informally pooled our experiences into a 'way' we do hospital care. Whether it is an emergency or planned, you need to be prepared," said Peabody-Soper.
Using these personal stories as well as coaching techniques, Peabody-Soper wrote the books for the hospital patient, patient advocate and the patient's family members and friends.
Twenty-nine tactics are given to assist readers in maneuvering the often unknown and sometimes confusing hospital environment. Peabody-Soper provides lessons learned in each chapter that she passes on to reduce the hospital learning curve so the reader will find the hospital visit easy and more comfortable.
Tactics in "The Hospital Handbook" include self-care for the patient advocate, hospital resources and how to use them, the "Family Plan," how to conduct the hospital stay and how to trust your own instincts.
"The Patient Journal" provides a place to keep notes regarding the patent's hospitalization and recovery. A journal to keep observations, thoughts and follow-up actions will assist in keeping the patient advocate and family members up to date on all procedures and any changes in the patient's care. Six directed questions are scattered throughout "The Patient Journal" to guide the writer through the note-taking process.
Kirkus Discoveries gave "The Hospital Handbook" a very solid review stating, "After being in a couple scary medical situations and caring for friends and family with serious illnesses, Soper knows how hospitals work and how to best utilize their services. Not only does she offer advice, but also she gives readers practical steps on how to be an advocate for a patient, how to understand what is going on medically and how to talk about a pending hospitalization beforehand."
Both books have large type for easy reading and all pages lay flat for easy note taking. Books are available at Fenton's Open Book on West Shiawassee or to order these books online, go to
Mary Peabody-Soper grew up on her family's fruit farm on Gilbert Lake in Bloomfield Hills. During the summer, she helped with the various aspects of growing and harvesting apples, most of them going on to Detroit's Eastern Market. At the corner of Hunter and Maple in Downtown Birmingham was the Peabody Grain Mill. After World War II, the Peabody brothers, Jim and Bob, began to sell fruit from the fruit orchard at that grain mill and eventually turned that building into a grocery store. It was a local favorite delivering groceries to the area households.
As the economy and the area grew that service ended and eventually little Peabody's could not compete with the larger grocery chain stores. The Peabody Family closed the grocery store and soon after opened a full service restaurant on that very same corner of Hunter and Maple, which is still open today.
During this time, Mary attended Holy Name Elementary School and she was in the first class of the new Marian High School. After ninth grade, her family moved to another farm in Fenton and graduated from Fenton High School in 1963. She is a cum laude graduate from Northern Michigan University in social work where she served as campus chaplain. Peabody-Soper held a number of public policy positions in the Michigan Department of Commerce including the "Yes Michigan" program and promotion of Michigan as a travel destination. She splits her time between Fenton and Marquette on the south shore of Lake Superior.


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