Nursing Care of the Elderly by Helen Weber. Reston, Virginia, Reston Publishing Company, Inc., 1980.
Ms. Weber has been most careful to identify that Nursing Care of the Elderly is a text written specifically for the practical vocational student nurse. As such the content is appropriate, and will give the student an overview of important topics to consider when caring for older people. The reader is made acutely aware of the caring component of working with older people and of the importance of the nursing role in administering this care.
The chapters are clearly headed and include such topics as the aging process, behavior patterns, social and psychological needs, safety measures, nutritional needs, and problems related to recognizing and dealing with emergency situations in the elderly. Study questions are included with each chapter, and answers to these questions appear at the end of the text. The index is easy to use and the bibliographies that appear at the end of each chapter contain current and relevant citations.
There are several probi em s related to prospective student use of this text, of which faculty should be aware. The author states that the main purpose of the text is to acquaint students with knowledge necessary for caring for institutionalized older adults. Unfortunately at times this purpose is unclear, resulting in overemphasis of relatively unimportant material and omission of essential content. For example, retirement is discussed in several areas of the book, although it can be assumed reasonably that most institutionalized older people have completed the retirement process. On the other hand, .sleep and sleep disturbances, the stress of institutionalization, and sensory deprivation, recurrent problems facing institutionalized older people, are not covered.
The second problem relates to depth of content. In an effort to provide an overview of a large number of topics, certain content areas are covered only superficially. The discussion of specific disease states and of pharmacologic problems specific to elderly clients is extremely limited. Unfortunately some of the tables suggest a greater depth of content than is presented in the accompanying text. This may lead students to believe that the material is exhaustive rather than illustrative.
In summary, Nursing Care of the Elderly presents an overview of gerontological content appropriate for practical/vocational student nurses. This test will be used best as introductory or supplementary to other content sources.