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Nursing the Acutely Ill Adult Case Book

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’This textbook is much needed in the current context of increased patient acuity and bed occupancy, shorter hospital stays, and the new work being done in the area of early recognition of the deteriorating patient.’

Title: Nursing the Acutely Ill Adult Case Book

Edited by: Karen Page and Aidin McKinney

Publisher: Open University Press

Reviewer: Barbara O’Donnell, Chief ODP, Guy’s Hospital

What was it like?

Doing exactly what it says on the cover, this book examines 17 different cases of the more common acute unwellness that may be found in adults, e.g. stroke, acute abdomen, pulmonary embolism. Chapters are broken down into anatomical/physiological systems e.g. neurological, with one final chapter covering cases that may be encountered with multiple systems involvement, e.g. burns.

The case scenarios are realistic and feel like ones that may be encountered in everyday practice, especially for staff working in acute areas such as the Emergency Department or Surgical wards. It is well referenced, using both National Institute for Clincal Excellence (NICE) and National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) guidance, as well as research from the journals.

An ABCDE approach is used throughout, which as we know from Advanced Life Support teaching and other sources, is useful not only for embedding systems training, but also helping to standardise care locally and nationally. This helps to ensure patients will get the same care regardless of their location or the specific expertise of individual staff. The focus throughout the book is not only on providing a structured approach to assessment and care delivery, but also best practice.

The use of the latest national systems, e.g. SBAR/RSVP communication tools, as well as Early Warning Scores (EWS) is reinforced throughout, thereby helping to ensure the embedding of these new tools to help improve systems of care delivery.

This textbook is much needed in the current context of increased patient acuity and bed occupancy, shorter hospital stays, and the new work being done in the area of early recognition of the deteriorating patient.

The book approaches cases in a standardised way, not talking specifically about care of common medical emergencies in a specialist context, e.g. acute asthma in obstetric patients.

What were the highlights?

Chapter on acute emergencies with multiple systems involvement. The whole book gives the most up to date guidance from all the differing organisations in one place, e.g. UK Resuscitation Council. It is well referenced, allowing the reader to easily pick up further reading if they chose to do so.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

Overall an excellent thorough textbook, providing just the right amount of required information without overloading the reader. This book is especially helpful in the current healthcare climate. One weakness that may possibly be perceived is lack of reference to common acute emergencies in the context of other medical conditions, but really that is arguably outside the scope of this book. I would recommend this book to any healthcare practitioner.

Who should read it?

Healthcare workers of all backgrounds, particularly those working in acute areas. Newly qualified nurses would likely find this especially useful as a textbook that gathers a great deal of complex information together in a structured, concise way. This book is also suitable for all grades as a reference or revision textbook.

nursing the acutely ill adult

nursing the acutely ill adult


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