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Book club: your reviews

Dementia and the family

26 January, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Dementia and the family

Author: Rachel Johnstone

Publisher: Southgate Publishers

Reviewer: Carol Cooper, senior lecturer in mental health nursing, Sheffield Hallam University

What was it like?

This thin book (which is reflected in reasonable price) is aimed at families of people with dementia and in particular the children in these families. It begins with an overview of how to talk to children about this difficult topic and moves on to outline practical advice on how to care for a loved one with dementia. It is designed to be used alongside a website that has been developed to also address this topic. It also goes on to give a list of 160 activities that are suggested for engaging the person with dementia and other members of the family (or carers). It leaves the reader with the sense that despite the problems that invariably dementia brings there are positive ways of engaging with people with memory problems and that this can be fun, leaving happy memories for those who care.

What was it like?

Clear and simple language with practical advice for carers of people with dementia regarding activities. I particularly liked the ideas for how to broach this subject with children.

Strengths & weaknesses:

A simple easy to read book with clear outlines of 160 simple activities for people with dementia. It could be a bit frustrating if you don’t have access to the internet though as in the initial part of the book it frequently directs you to sections of the website to enhance your learning.

Who should read it?

This is a book that is aimed at families although the author does suggest that other carers, either paid or unpaid might also benefit from the ideas contained within it and I have no reason to disagree with this.

 

Dementia and the family

 

Pride and Joy

20 January, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Pride and Joy

Author: Alex Knight

Publisher: Linney Group Ltd

Reviewer: Jane Brown, Patient Safety Advisor Worcester Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

Alex Knight offers solutions to a ailing healthcare environment. This is a book that actually offers the reader practical and real solutions. Post Francis report there is still so much to learn and gain within the NHS. This is not a text book of how to do, but a novel of how the late Eli Goldratt’s theory of management can be applied to the healthcare setting.

What were the highlights?

I found I could not put this book down – was not expecting this, I thought this would be hard to endure. Just how wrong I was. It give the reader a chance to stop and think, and that instead of throwing money at an ailing organisation there are real changes that can be made. All is not lost. I think in the thick of things you cannot always see the wood for the trees. This book gives the inspiration and solutions to make a difference.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strengths of this book are both practical and enjoyable at the same time. It is realistic and focuses on behaviours as well that we can all identity with. Instead of feeling ground down by system, the book gives a sense of real hope. Within the healthcare environment there are real challenges such as a population living longer but with more complex issues and conditions and so many targets you do not know where to turn to next.

The author has written this book in the style of Goldratt’s “The Goal” as a business novel but applies this so well to healthcare in the 21st century.

The author does not dismiss staff as a problem but acknowledges staff are trying so hard. They are caring, but systems do not allow them to carry out their jobs as well as they would like. Somewhere along the way we forget the reason we are in the healthcare setting is for patients.

Who should read it?

All staff from students to chief executives who work in the healthcare setting must make a point to read this book- there is hope if we pull together.

 

Pride and Joy

Be in Balance

12 January, 2015 Posted by: -

Title: Be in Balance

Author: Angela Bradshaw

Publisher: Balloon View Limited

Reviewer: Anne Duell, registered general nurse, Birmingham Community NHS Trust

What was it like?

Bradshaw’s book provides her readers with a down to earth introduction to the Alexander Technique and incorporates a practical guide to how the reader can employ the basics of this technique into their daily lives to improve their posture and subsequently benefit their overall function, health and wellbeing.  The book is far from being a heavy academic read but is put together in a manner, which facilitates a broad readership group. As an author, Bradshaw approaches this book from a personal perspective, as someone who has experienced how poor posture can impact on life and living. What this book does is provide its readers with the tools to consider the options and choices that are available to enable them to regain some form of control in their lives and where they can also move forward and consider delving further into the Alexander technique. Further guidance is also provided in relation to the support that is available through accessing the alexander technique website along with the authors own website.

What were the highlights? 

The highlight in this book is its use of practical activities and how the readers are encouraged to change posture and employ exercises, which may challenge current perceptions and practices. 

Strengths & weaknesses:

The strengths of this book come through how the author has structured and designed her book to incorporate a broad readership. It is presented in a light humorous style that engages the reader. There are no obvious weaknesses to this book. In general it is a positive insightful book.

Who should read it?

This book should be read by anyone who experiences pain or discomfort in their daily lives as a result of repetitive activity or injury.  As this book is a self-help book it should be considered by health care professionals who encounter this group of patients. 

 

Be in Balance

Student Survival Skills. Study Skills for Nurses

16 December, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Student Survival Skills, Study Skills for Nurses

Authors:  Boyd,C

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell

Reviewer: Louise Goodyear, 3rd year adult student nurse

What was it like?

Study Skills for Nurses is a fantastic concise little book, which covers a good broad range of care skills within the hospital and community settings, such as bed bathing and more unseen interventions such as stoma care.

What were the highlights? 

This book gives a sharp snapshot in each chapter, starting with the learning outcomes and what is hoped the reader will have achieved by reading and understanding each chapters content. It is a brightly coloured and illustrated book with up to date tables, diagrams and algorithms, enabling the student nurse in any trust to understand. At various intervals throughout the book it prompts the reader to test their knowledge, which I really found this aspect useful. It enabled me to question the content and put it into practice as well.

Strengths & weaknesses:

There is a full appendix, which allows the reader to look up any common forms used in practice such as weight conversation charts and I also found that the author refers to other publications such as the Royal Marsden, allowing you to expand your knowledge further. This book enabled me to look up something quickly, giving me the answer to my questions, and then if I wanted to go any deeper I had references to other texts that I could utilise. It’s a bright book, with a wipe able cover so you can pop it into your bag, and use it without worry on placement, wipe it over and it’s at your fingertips any time of day or placement.

Who should read it?

I would recommend this book and also this series of books to student nurses at any point of their training. I have found it an invaluable book which does not blind you with too much information in one go, a pit stop book well worth investing in. I keep a copy in my bag when ever I am on placement.

Student Survival Skills. Care Skills for Nurses

 

Get inside your Doctor’s Head

10 December, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Get inside your Doctor’s Head

Author: Phillip K Peterson

Publisher: Johns Hopkins Press

Reviewer: Paul Watson, Head of Child Development, Marshland High School

What was it like?

Get Inside Your Doctor’s Head provides advice about such questions as when to seek treatment, when to get another opinion, and when to let time take its course. The book offers Ten Rules that you should know when you are considering your doctor’s recommendations. I am pleased to see however, that Dr Peterson is clear that the Ten Rules of Internal Medicine have occasional exceptions. He makes it clear to the reader that when evidence suggests that there is an exception, the relevant rule should be broken. With this in mind though, it is easy to follow the Ten Rules to make decisions in the increasingly complicated medical world when you need guidance about health matters, for yourself, your loved ones, and in many cases the patients that you are entrusted with.

This book is well written and easy to pick up and understand. It is obviously written for the lay person but is definitely not patronising or demeaning, delivering an easy read for professionals and lay persons alike. The ten rules make up the ten chapters and result in an easy to use, interesting and informative read.

What were the highlights? 

The ten rules are such a simple concept that any practitioner will benefit from keeping them in mind. A fab idea well presented!

Strengths & weaknesses:

The book is a nice pocket sized companion that if not carried with a practitioner or patient/carer should remain to hand, on a desk or book shelf. Written in simple but professional terms this book is quick reference guide to making sensible assessments and successful outcomes.

Who should read it?

Everyone; This is such a quick easy read that I would be so bold as to suggest, that any practitioner that has direct contact with patients should be reviewing the Ten Rules. If caring for the patient it will give you confidence in the care you are being asked to deliver, and if prescribing the care it will allow you to support your decisions and might prevent a mistake, causing any unnecessary problems.

 

Get inside your Doctors Head

Managing Breathlessness in the community

3 December, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Managing Breathlessness in the community

Authors: Janelle Yorke and June Roberts

Publisher: M&K Publishing 

Reviewer: Louise Goodyear, 3rd Year Adult Student Nurse

What was it like?

As the title states this book looks at breathlessness in the community setting and how healthcare practitioners can support patients in their own homes effectively. Each chapter breaks down specific areas of dyspnoea, allowing the reader to either ingest the whole book, or pick certain areas or themes per chapter to read.

I particularly enjoyed chapters two and three. As a student nurse I personally found these chapters easy to read, understand and then put into practice once on placement. Chapter two explains the mechanics of breathlessness and how different states of dyspnoea can be identified. Chapter three looks into the assessment of the patient. There are useful tables that are easy to read and understand even by a student, and also the signs and symptoms to look out for, which I found useful.

What were the highlights? 

Further through the book the authors look into particular diseases such as COPD, coronary heart failure and pulmonary hypertension and how such diseases present in the community in regards to the breathlessness of the patient.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Each chapter has reflection prompts enabling the reader to think about a scenario, or event and how they would manage the patient in that particular circumstance. I enjoyed the psychological strategies of managing the breathlessness, looking at the patient holistically, as this enables the practitioner to look at cognitive behavioural therapies and also mindfulness, to support them in their own homes.

Who should read it?

I would recommend this book in particular to student nurses years 2 and 3 who have placements in the community setting. Also nurses, physiotherapists and also occupational therapist, which support patients in the community.

Managing Breathlessness in the community

Comments (1)

Ageing

2 December, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Ageing

Author: Chris Phillipson

Publisher: Polity Press

Reviewer: Carol Singleton, Queen’s Nurse, North Tyneside

What was it like?

The key question covered by this book is “how can social science contribute in helping us to think about the possibilities and potential behind the development of ageing populations?”

Presented in a clear, well thought out, logical manner this book takes the reader through the numerous issues and debates faced by ageing populations and the consequences to the rest of society.

What were the highlights? 

Written by a sociologist, one of our most prominent authorities on ageing, this book provides a comprehensive and insightful overview of the key debates in the field.

Strengths & weaknesses:

There are three main sections, firstly “Demographic and Social Dimensions of Ageing”, secondly “Inequalities and Divisions in Later Life” and thirdly “New Pathways for Later Life”. The first section sets out the context for understanding ageing populations while the second reviews examples of changes affecting this population and the third examines proposals for change in a number of key areas, including work, education and social relationships.

There is a comprehensive index allowing you to search under either author or subject.

The references are listed in alphabetical order at the back of the book by author, with a mixture of articles, books and publications from organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society, The Gerontologist, Welfare Reform and the Department for Work and Pensions. Personally I prefer references to be listed at the end of each chapter so that you don’t have to stop what you are reading to find the reference or note that you need to find it at a later date.

There is a short section on “Notes”. Not all of the chapters have notes and it seems to provide further explanations of terms e.g. pensions or median age or where to find further information on a subject.

Who should read it?

People interested in social science, students and scholars working in sociology, social policy and wider social science disciplines and the humanities.

 

Ageing

How Your Doctor Sees You

18 November, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: How Your Doctor Sees You

Author: Robert Angus

Publisher: Farthings Publishing

Reviewer: Jade Day, 1st Year Adult Nursing student at Anglia Ruskin

What was it like

This book is a brilliant showcase of all the different types of scans and imaging healthcare professionals use when dealing with patients. All the images are clear and both normal and abnormal images are displayed in order to demonstrate the differences there are after injury and there are a wide range of common injuries to look at.

Though the author states at the beginning of the book it is not meant as a learning tool for students, personally I found it to be exactly that. It is extremely informative, uses clear explanations when medical terminology is included and all the images are labelled clearly for anybody to be able to understand positioning. I found this great as a revision tool for my anatomy and physiology as it demonstrates exactly where organs/bones are and names them clearly.

All the different types of imaging are explained clearly at the start of the book, so the reader is aware of the differences in what they are looking at and I found it fascinating from start to finish.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Clear imaging is used throughout the book, clear explanations are given at every stage, the body is visited in sections so you can look at one area at a time and the language used throughout is relatable to anyone, not just those in the medical field.

Quite a large heavy book and slightly repetitive in images used at times.

Who should read it

Any kind of student in the medical/nursing field, those already qualified, anyone interested in seeing medical images and having an explanation if they have had an injury in the past, anyone working with this equipment that wants to show off the things they get to see on a normal work day.

How Your Doctor Sees You

Stories from the War Hospital

17 November, 2014 Posted by: -

Title: Stories from the War Hospital

Author: Richard Wilcocks

Publisher: Meerkat Publications Ltd

Reviewer: Carol Singleton Queen’s Nurse, North Tyneside.

What was it like?

This book was the result of a project started in 2012 by four members of the Headingley LitFest team who talked to people with a strong interest in local history and the organisers of “Legacies of War” at the University of Leeds before deciding to focus on Beckett Park, a significant part of the community. A grant from ”All Our Stories” at the Heritage Lottery Fund provided the means to start the extensive research in various archives in Leeds, Salford and London but also enabling visits to be made to the descendants of patients and staff involved in this fascinating building.

What were the highlights? 

I carried out my nurse training in Leeds at Leeds General Infirmary, more than sixty years after the time described in this book but I found it a fascinating read, especially the chapter on “Doctors and Surgeons”, which mentioned people such as Harry Littlewood and Lord Moynihan whose bust remains to this day, on the staircase in Leeds General Infirmary.

There is an interesting chapter on “Wartime diseases and infections” that describes the various conditions and how they were treated, and another on “shell shock”, part of our cultural language throughout the 20th century.

Strengths & weaknesses:

At the back of the book there is a list of the sources used for the book, a bibliography and useful list of online sources for both this country and further afield.

Who should read it?

The material in this book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the First World War in Leeds and in the whole country and even though it is primarily written about Beckett Park, it should be of interest to anybody wanting to learn more about this important part of our history, how hospitals were run and clinical care was carried out.Stories

Patient – The true story of a rare illness

17 November, 2014 Posted by: -

Title:   Patient – The true story of a rare illness

Author: Ben Watt

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Reviewer: Debbie Quinn QN, MS Specialist Nurse. Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS foundation Trust and Nurse Advisor MS Trust

What was it like?

The author Ben is a member of the pop group Everything but the Girl. This is a personal account of his journey through illness, hospitalisation, diagnosis and learning to adapt to life with a rare illness.

What were the highlights? 

The book offers readers the opportunity to share Ben’s experience, in his own words. In parts it really highlights the genuine fear and terror of what is happening to him. The trauma and worry of the family is also well documented. The final chapter captures how life can continue with a life long illness albeit with lifestyle adaptations. In fact Ben details how he goes back on tour with his wife following the long recovery.

Strengths & weaknesses:

In parts I found the book confusing – maybe because of the personal account element. Language in places could be found quite offensive by many. You really need to understand that this is a patients’ account of his journey and in places may not always be factual. I would suggest it has probably been cathartic to write and while useful is not necessarily something that many healthcare professionals would find beneficial to their role.

Who should read it?

I would suggest others with long term complex health conditions requiring hospitalisation may find it beneficial, or those with rare conditions would understand the complexity around diagnosis. Healthcare professional with an interest in either of these areas may also benefit from the book.

Patient - the true story of a rare illness

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