Geriatric Medicine, 2nd ed. Cassel C, Riesenberg D, Sorensen L, et al (Eds), New York, Springer-Verlag, 1990, 697 pages, $99.95, hardcover.
As Dr Robert Butler says in the foreword of this text, "geriatric medicine is coming of age." Because of this, we are seeing a proliferation of geriatric medicine texts - some good, some bad. This text is one of the good ones. Every health professional should have access to this book.
Each chapter reads like a cherished professor explaining clearly, carefully, and succinctly what we need to know to address the many diseases and conditions of the elderly. These contributors also state what we do not know, giving ideas for research direction. They also state ways that the elderly were treated previously and why changes were made. The chapters are so readable that one forgets that the book is a scientific text.
The tone is set from the beginning by focusing on the older patient: cellular aging* ethical considerations, assessment, and screening. The chapters then lead into patterns of illness in the elderly, with the unique challenges of dealing with "cascades of problems." The chapter on the interplay and effects of multiple problems on the elderly is vital for understanding how to manage geriatric patients.
The usual systems approach to disease and conditions of the elderly follows. However, added to this are frank, sensitive discussions of common problems in elderly persons, eg, voiding dysfunctions, falls, nutrition, exercise, sleep disorders, hypothermia, and pressure sores.
Care of the elderly who are near death is humanistically discussed from the standpoint of compassionate care, personhood, euthanasia, prolonging life, and even using such life for academic purposes.
The text ends with a plea for health professionals caring for the elderly to use their knowledge, skills, and expertise to meet the exceedingly complex needs of the Increasing number of elderly who are seeking health and social services.