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Kidney disease management: A practical approach for the non-specialist healthcare practitioner

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Title: Kidney disease management: A practical approach for the non-specialist healthcare practitioner.

Editors: Rachel Lewis & Helen Noble

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Reviewer: Ed Shields, nurse lecturer, Queen’s University Belfast.

What was it like?

This book has contributors from the fields of medicine, nursing, dietetics, psychology and pharmacy.  Its aim is to optimise the care of people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) across the healthcare spectrum. The target audience is specifically stated as being non-specialist professionals; nurses, junior doctors, GPs, pharmacists and dieticians. 

It frames the problem of CKD in a policy context and neatly lays this out against the backdrop chronic illness, generally. The non-specialist will appreciate the guidance of the writers on what the non-specialist needs to know; psycho-social aspects of living with CKD, acute kidney injury (AKI) in surgical settings (with particular reference to frail older people), gastrointestinal abnormalities, fluid balance management, associated anaemia, hyperkalaemia and important issues in relation to renal replacement therapy (RRT). 

There is an important section towards the end of the book, which deals with issues medications used in management and treatment of CKD/AKI as well associated nutritional considerations. The book finishes with a chapter on supportive and palliative care; it deals with issues such as survival rates, causes of death in people with CKD, decisions about dialysis, supporting the patient who decides not to have dialysis and withdrawal of dialysis.

What were the highlights? 

The book contains lots of tables and boxes that succinctly yet comprehensively summarise quite complex information into easily processed and retained blocks. Non-specialist staff will find this a helpful aid to understanding.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This book is not intimidating to approach and is easily read. It contains a lot of easily understood information in a relatively short edition, which will not dissuade the non-specialist healthcare professional.

Who should read it?

It seems clear that the writers’ aim to appeal to non-specialists has been successful. Any healthcare professional, working in hospital or non-hospital settings, working with the frail elderly (at particular risk of CKD) and staff working in acute surgical areas will find a lot of easy to understand information here. Any professional, previously intimidated by renal disease management, will find that this book demystifies this import area of practice.

Kidney disease management:

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