Toward Healthy Aging: Human Needs and Nursing Response. Ebersole P, Hess P, St. Louis, CV Mosby Co, 1990, 879 pages, hardcover.
Toward Health Aging is a textbook that focuses on maintaining and promoting health in elders. The authors avoided the discussion of specific illnesses related to elders because this information can be found in many medical and nursing texts. The framework for the book is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The authors note in the preface that the content is not developed around the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association nursing diagnoses because of illness orientation and the lack of full applicability in the care of eiders. The authors challenge gerontic nurses to develop an appropriate taxonomy of diagnoses in time for the next edition of this book.
The book is divided into three sections. The first presents background information on views and theories of aging, health and wellness, age-related differences and wellness changes, gerontic laboratory values and implications in the care of elders, and chronic problems of aging from a wellness perspective.
The second section is divided into five units according to the five levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Biological needs include the topics of life support needs such as elimination and sleep; maintenance needs such as the neglected areas of teeth and feet; comfort needs; and drug use and abuse. Safety and security needs focus on mobility, mediators of personal security, environmental considerations affecting safety and security, economic and legal considerations, and the frail elder. The discussion of belonging needs includes the topics of touch, intimacy, sexuality, relationship networks, social isolation, and social integration. Selfesteem, status, and self-respect topics focus on crisis, stress, depression, control, role transitions, role change, mental health, and cognition. The final unit on self-actualization identifies aging as a peak experience, then discusses transcendence, legacies, and death.
The third section presents issues relevant to the field of gerontic nursing including the development of gerontic nursing, gerontic nursing roles in institutional and community settings, legalities and ethics of caring, and the self-actualized gerontic nurse. The final chapter in the third section includes the experiences of nurse pioneers who have affected the development of gerontic nursing.
Because the population is moving toward the old-old on the aging continuum, the authors shifted much of their content and discussion toward the needs of this age group. Relevant statistics, along with numerous tables and graphs, provide the reader with additional information that helps in understanding the content. The appendix provides information on topics such as audio-visuals, journals on aging, data sources, nursing research funding sources, organizations of significance to elders, gerontic nursing education programs, and university centers and institutes.
Overall, this text provides the reader with a wealth of information about elders. Advanced nursing students, registered nurses, and other health-care professionals working with elders should find this book excellent resource material. Toward Healthy Aging is well worth examining and adding to your personal library.