Current Trends in British Gerontology, Taylor and Gilmore, Brookfield, VT: Gower Publishing Co., 1982. $35.00.
This very interesting little text is a collection of papers presented at the 1980 Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology. Social gerontology as a discipline is stressed, and five topic areas are developed: normal aging, illness in old age, therapies and their evaluation, institutional and community care, and mediods and procedures of gerontological research.
Nurses involved in the care of the aged will find topics of interest here. Reality orientation, the effects of aging on prescribing patterns, social implications of acquired deafness, and evaluation of community care are among the papers presented. It is readily evident that their concerns within the field of social gerontology are very similar to our concerns.
Probably the most interesting paper presented was Smitii's "Some Conflicts and Anomalies in Terminal Care Movements." Here Exit, also known as the Society for the Right to Die with Dignity, is discussed, along with the similarities between this movement and the hospice movement, along with vital differences. It is noted by the author that many of what are considered "good" deaths at the St. Christopher's Hospice would be considered euthanasia in the United States. The comparison between the two movements is bound to be controversial, yet both have a shared commitment to a better way of death, albeit in different ways. As bodi organizations are currently the subject of much media attention here and in the U.K. , this paper takes on added meaning to tiiose involved in the care of tile terminally Ul.
The British approach to research in social gerontology would appear to be less "hard," or in more of a qualitative vein. This approach may be refreshing to those who are not interested in pages of statistics regarding die elderly and prefer an ethnographic or intrapersonal approach. Statistical data in these papers rarely goes beyond mere compilation of percentages.
This book can be a valuable reference for the gerontic nurse, and is interesting enough to be read in one's leisure time. Better texts on British gerontological nursing are available which focus primarily on nursing care proper. This and the price would probably make its purchase inadvisable to die average nurse; however, its purchase as a reference text can be recommended to medical and nursing libraries.