Title: Long-term conditions: Nursing care and management
Authors: Meerabeau L. and Wright K.
Reviewer: Ed Shields, nurse lecturer, Queen’s University Belfast.
What was it like?
The stated aim of this book is to help nurses gain a wide perspective on issues and experiences of people living their life with a long-term condition (LTC). A theme running throughout is the focus on developing partnerships with people who have LTCs, based on empathy and respect. This edition contains a lot of information in less than 300 pages, which only when one starts to read, it does become clear how much information it contains.
The authors argue that due to continuing demographic changes and persistent health inequalities, the UK needs a healthcare system that responds less to episodic relapses/remission of LTCs. They would like to see a system that moves to one of case finding and case management, in the process becoming more responsive to the precise needs of people with LTCs.
The book deals with various policy developments, offers clinical guidance and concentrates on adults with physical illness. Sociological and psychological insights into the effects of LTC on individuals and families are developed along with some ideas on how counselling skills can help carers to be more responsive to patients’ needs. With this underpinning in place, the book moves to offer specific and useful guidance on the management of symptoms associated with LTC, such as fatigue, depression, stress, breathlessness and pain. There is also a useful section on medicines management. The final three chapters cover in detail the management of heart failure, respiratory disease and diabetes.
What were the highlights?
There is a multi-disciplinary feel to this book having contributors from specialist nurses, pharmacist, consultant anaesthetist and pain specialist, psychology and a counsellor. Another useful element is the extensive range of helpful reference material at the end of each chapter.
Strengths and weaknesses?
A particular strength of this edition is the chapter on “Tommy’s story”, which uses the notion of the “expert patient” with LTC, an account by a man who lives with several LTCs. There are valuable insights to be gleaned from this short but compelling section. This is a serious book, which is packed with information and some may choose to use it as a reference source for the extent of its material.
Who should read it?
Any (aspirant) community nurse, manager and policy guru may do well to read this book. Anyone involved in education, may possibly consider it as course material. Although it may be more useful for students in the later stage of their pre-registration studies, pre-registration nursing students will find sections that will inform them and help develop knowledge, skills and awareness.