Bedside Witness: Stories of Hope, Healing and Humanity

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About the book

“When I get out of here, I’m going to hunt you down and chop you up into little pieces!” were the words spoken to Kay Adams by a juvenile offender in the corrections facility where she worked.

Those words became the catalyst for her to wake up to her true calling: being a bedside witness and companion to patients and their caregivers.

In Bedside Witness, Adams shares stories from her twenty-year journey in hospice, geriatric mental health, palliative care, and dementia coaching. Through the intimate lens as a social worker, Kay artfully draws us into these heartfelt tales as if she were sitting with us at our kitchen table, tenderly weaving the laughter, grief, wonder, wisdom, and tragedy of our shared human experience.

For bulk purchases or personally signed books, please contact the author directly using the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Book Reviews & Awards

“The caregiver stories in your book are dead on! The way you used them to get your point across is a technique that is much more powerful and impactful than just narrating a “how to” or “you should” instruction manual…

I think your book should be required reading for every person contemplating marriage. When you get to the “in sickness and health” and “for better or worse” part, it’s not a bad thing to know what those words might mean someday.”

Roberta ConwayCare Partner

“By knowing our patients’ stories, we come close to understanding their pain and their journey. Adams shows us the reward that all of us experience in working with patients like those in Bedside Witness. Adams has written a compelling book that will be a must-read for all of us who work or will work in this field.”

Michael Weitzner, MD, FRCPC Geriatric Psychiatrist, Kamloops, British Columbia

“Kay Adams shares her journey as a social worker with care, sensitivity, dignity, and grace. Her beautifully written vignettes are so palpable you literally feel and experience her journey in a way that transports and places you in the room where it happened.”

Nadine Roberts Cornish, CSAGerontologist and Chief Care Strategist

“It is said that each time a story is told, it breathes life into the culture. In Bedside Witness, Kay Adams brings out the dignity of her patients and families through their stories. She shows us that humanness transcends aging, dementia, and illness and that our culture is filled with the many colors of life behind the doors and walls of hospice and dementia care.”

Amelia SchaferSenior Director, Alzheimer’s Association

“Kay Adams shows us that illness, disease, and ultimately death offer us unlimited gifts if we are able to open our hearts along the way. Through Kay’s eyes, we are able to see that rather than fear what lies ahead, we have the opportunity to embrace the journey.

Karl J. Shackelford, MDiv, BCC Founder, We Grieve

Bedside Witness should be required reading for anyone in the fields of hospice, geriatrics, mental health, palliative care, and dementia. Through her stories, Kay Adams shows us that being a witness and companion goes far beyond checking off boxes. It requires sitting with, listening to, and understanding those we serve.”

Tracy Ellen Lippard, MD, FACPInternal and Geriatric Medicine

Bedside Witness is for caregivers who are looking for a sign that they are not alone as they hold their loved one’s hand through the most difficult journey imaginable, and for anyone—social worker, nurse, or therapist—who wants to understand the experience of their patients and their caregivers.”

Amy DelpoLibrarian and Caregiver

“Kay Adams is the perfect voice to bring a powerful understanding to the impact dementia can have on people living with the illness, their families, and caregivers. Her compassionate look at navigating these life-changing moments is inspiring and educational.”

Cynthia JamesBestselling Author and International Speaker, President and CEO, Cynthia James Enterprises

“Kay’s stories envelope you as you witness the extraordinary, honest, and difficult moments that others go through during one of life’s most challenging times. Glimpses into Kay’s gift with people bring you through a rainbow of emotions and leave you with a heartfelt desire to offer companionship and support to others when they need it most.”

Lindsy Moore, PharmDGeriatric Pharmacy Specialist

“Having watched my mother slip away from the effects of dementia, Bedside Witness brought comfort, knowing that other families like mine have survived this loss with a sense of humility and heart. Through her stories, Kay illustrates the commonalities we share as human beings, families, and caregivers and draws on those connections with bright colors to inspire us all.”

Mary GaulCaregiver, Owner of Success Magnified Business Coaching

“Kay is a storytelling alchemist with an extraordinary gift that teaches and inspires. Her firsthand accounts of persons living with serious illnesses and their loved ones are transformed into powerful testaments of humility and compassion. Kay captures what matters most: an essential skill of a palliative care social worker.”

Melissa Coleman Palmer, LCSW, JDPalliative Care Specialist—University of Colorado
Gold Indie Book Award Bedside Witness

2023 Next Generation Book Award Winner – Inspirational (Non-Fiction)

Light blue and purple Alz Authors Bedside Witness

Proud to be an AlzAuthor

Living Now Bronze Medal

2023 Living Now Book Award – grieving/death/dying

Bedside Witness Map

Countries worldwide where copies of Bedside Witness have been purchased so far:

US, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Italy

About the author

Kay Adms Bedside Witness

Kay M. Adams

Kay Adams, LCSW is a coach, educator, writer, and speaker. She is the founder of Compassion Works, LLC—a company dedicated to providing individualized dementia coaching, workshops, and educational offerings to families, professional care partners, and organizations.

Kay is passionate about supporting people living with dementia, as well as the families, caregivers, and communities entrusted with their care. Kay’s extensive background as a medical social worker in geriatrics, hospice, palliative care, and mental health has given her a unique perspective as a “bedside witness” to the plethora of needs that families contend with when caring for a friend or loved one who is facing a life-threatening illness or dementia.

Kay’s mission is to empower care partners to navigate the wilderness of dementia by providing individualized coaching, education, coping strategies, and programs designed to improve communication, relationship dynamics, and caregiver support and confidence.

Known for bringing authenticity, humor, integrity, and a unique storytelling ability to her work, Kay connects deeply with those she serves and understands that it is a privilege to do so.

Kay and her family reside in Denver, Colorado.

Learn more about Kay.

Listen to Kay’s Interview on Best Life Best Death Podcast:

How Do We Approach This Long Road?

Dementia is disruptive, incredibly so. You can’t get help for what you don’t understand, so this path requires gathering information, pushing for an accurate diagnosis, educating yourself and those around you, and finding new approaches for everyone involved. Kay Adams shares valuable information from her extensive experience as a dementia coach: Why does getting an accurate diagnosis matter? Why is neurological screening by itself not enough? What is helpful for caregivers/carepartners to realize about their experience? Why is dementia on the rise, and what can we do? As Kay says in her book, Bedside Witness: Stories of Hope, Healing and Humanity: “This heartbreaking illness and the collateral damage it can leave in its wake is one of the most complicated journeys any human being may ever have to take.”


Kay Adams Interview on Best Life Best Death Podcast

Compassion Works, LLC enthusiastically engages care partners and organizations impacted by dementia through coaching, consulting, education and training, so they are empowered to effectively face challenges with confidence, clarity and connection.

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