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Working with children who need long-term respiratory support

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Title: Working with children who need long-term respiratory support

Author: Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor

Publisher: M&K Update, 2011

Reviewer: Paul Watson RN, BA(Hons), PGCE, MIfL. school nurse NCH+C (Norfolk NHS)


What was it like?

This book discusses many of the day-to-day needs of children who require long-term respiratory support. This includes their physical requirements, but also their emotional, social and educational needs, and the needs of their families. It aims to discuss all the aspects of care that such children and their families may need, and also to place these in the context of seeing the child as a whole person and as a part of society. To achieve this, six case studies of children who need long-term respiratory support are used throughout the book.  I felt that each of the case studies that were detailed were of children that had a primary medical condition. I considered that these cases would generally be better described as a life-limiting condition with a respiratory need, rather than just as children who need long-term respiratory support. (life-limiting conditions: life-limiting conditions are those for which there is no reasonable hope of cure. Some of these conditions cause progressive deterioration rendering the child increasingly dependent on parents and carers)


What were the highlights? 

I found that having the case studies running throughout the entire book allowed the reader to maintain a focus on the issues in hand, especially the holistic needs of the case studies. At times I was fully immersed in the back stories of the case subjects and was quite emotional having read what they had been through, and would continue to go through. The details of care required for these case subjects was not just limited to their respiratory support but also the general care required for their general daily living and was detailed and thought provoking.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I think that the title of this book was slightly misleading. While the content was excellently written and provided great information on the care of children with respiratory needs, it generally covered the greater needs of children with disabilities. From the title of the book I was expecting to be able to learn more about the care needs of children with asthma, (1.1 million children are currently receiving treatment for asthma in the UK. That’s 1 in 11 children (, although there was little (almost none) reference to children with asthma. Instead, the book focussed on the six case studies of children, all of whom had other life-limiting conditions that resulted in additional specialist respiratory care needs. Perhaps the book title would have been better if it had been “Working with Children that have Life Limiting Conditions, also requiring Long term Respiratory Support.”  

Who should read it?

This book may be a useful tool for  any student nurse, carer or community nurse that are likely to be caring with children that have any form of life limiting condition. I hope that this title will encourage the reader to think holistically about the needs of their patients and to develop as a practitioner able to work with children with these conditions.  

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