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The 36- Hour Day

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’This edition is for carers and families, but equally should be on the reading list for nursing and medical students’

Title: The 36- Hour Day - 6th edition revised and updated

Authors: Nancy L Mace and Peter V Rabins

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University press

Reviewer: Jane Brown, Quality Governance manager specialised clinical services division, Worcester Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

This is a well-written book for carers and loved ones on how to care for conditions such as alzheimers, dementia,memory loss and other conditions.

Although written for families in the US, this is equally apt for the UK. The book begins with exactly what dementia is ( you would expect a definition but not all books do this, assuming the reader knows).

There is a great deal that can be done to improve peoples’ lives and as a carer that is not always evident. The authors acknowledge that through the person’s perceptions, melancholy, aggression, what at times feels like madness, and continually reminding them of what “normality” is to the carer. Carers feel there will be a cure and through treatment there may be an improvement but for many there will never be a cure (certainly in their life time) So how does the carer manage? They need to be fit and well, eat nutritionally, take exercise – but not upset the person by shouting or pushing them into situations they do not want to be.

There are helpful suggestions such as planning the day so less is expected of them at a time when they may not be at their best.

I particularly liked the chapter on special arrangements if the family member is sick (we do all get sick). This has an impact on the person who becomes more confused – so planning is the key.

There are small real life case stories as well, which helps the carer to know it happens to their people too and gives permission for life to go on with elements of humour.

What were the highlights?

Written so practically that it covers all aspects and is the bible for family and friends. It is not patronising and condescending and the chapters are well set out and easy to read. If the reader wants to find a subject, it is there and easy to find in the contents.

If the carer needs to seek further information again, this is included.

The authors understand. They are clinicians and have the experience.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This first and foremost empowers the carer, gives support and guidance when they need it most. This edition is well researched and updated. 

Who should read it?

This is for carers and families, but equally should be on the reading list for nursing and medical students. Every ward should have a copy as nursing and clinicians can learn so much from this and ensure a high standard of care for these patients.




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