Geri-Assistant Care Manual. Anderson MA, Beaver KW, Wheeler RE, Ogden, Utah, Atlas Publishing Company, 1989, 170 pages, $16.95, paperback.
Geri-Assistant Care Manual is written as a text for health-care assistants who work in long-term care institutional settings. It is divided into 34 chapters that contain concise information about ethics; communication; organization; documentation; asepsis; physical, psychological, and sociocultural care; body mechanics; death and dying; patient safety; working with families; and roles of workers in the long-term care setting. Each chapter begins with behavioral objectives, learning activities, and a vocabulary list. Abbreviated lists, short narratives, and cartoon illustrations are the format for presenting the information.
The essential information needed by nursing assistants is included and related in a positive style. The text would need to be complemented with the institution's policies, procedures, and equipment instructions. There are a few areas I would bring to the attention of the instructor who uses the text: the use of the term "resident" rather than "patient"; information about electronic thermometers, along with safety and validity issues in the use of oral glass thermometers for the elderly; information regarding safe procedures for feeding residents who cannot feed themselves; because the vocabulary is on a 12th-grade level, the instructor may have to help nurse assistants who have poor reading skills or speak English as a second language; and inclusion of the gerontological nurse practitioner as one type of nurse often seen in long-term care settings. Although these are only a few points compared with the vast amount that is presented, they are important for instructors to be aware of in using the text.
The strength of the text is that it is divided into many short chapters so that the content can be broken into many small teaching segments. There are helpful hints on how to communicate with residents and families, as well as how to do the physical care. The format of short segmented chapters, however, may make it more difficult to use if teaching takes place in large blocks of time where material needs to be grouped into larger units.
I applaud the authors of the text for their work. Good training manuals for nurse assistants are few in number. I recommend the text for inservice education directors in nursing homes who are either conducting an initial certification course for nurse assistants or are strengthening the skills of those already employed.