Handbook of Home Health Care Administration by Marilyn D. Harris, ed.; 1997; Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen; 967 pages
In the Second Edition of Handbook of Home Health Care Administration, editor Marilyn D. Harris has culled contributions from nearly 100 contributors, involved in some manner with home health care. The present, updated edition of the text book is broadly intended to provide information on multitudinous topics pertaining to home health care administration. The contents are particularly of potential interest to administrators working actively in the field of home care. There is much of potential interest, as well, to caregivers, managers, and students wishing to build knowledge about home care.
The text is divided into 1 0 parts diffused into 80 chapters. The vast panorama of home care is richly exposed to view in this impressive tome. Overall, issues of possible professional interest to the home care administrator are covered in much detail. Exhibits, tables, figures, appendices, and lists of references are part of the configuration of the textbook. Some of the information has been published previously.
The prospective reader should understand that the text places a much greater emphasis on information of a practical, rather than theoretical, nature. As such, the book may have greater appeal to the practitioner of home care, rather than to the researchers interested in this area.
The completeness of the textbook cannot be gainsaid. It unquestionably traverses vast ground in the territory of home care. Although different contributors have differing writing styles, the text is written in a generally didactic manner. Persons from many professional backgrounds are potentially affected by issues relating to home care. In this text, however, the perspective of the home care administrator is stressed.
An impressive strength of this textbook is the multiplicity of authors. The educational backgrounds of the numerous contributors vary considerably, as do their respective workplaces. This heterogeneity tends to breathe more life, or animation of views, into the book. The many chapters can intelligibly be read independently of one another, which is a boon to someone who may lack the time to read the entire textbook. Moreover, the book, or particular parts of it, are highly suitable reading for persons with many different interests connected in some way with home care.
When a book is as long as this one, it may attempt to be too many things to too many people. Although touching many points on the continuum of home care, the text would have benefitted from a sharper and narrower focus on managed care and how this paradigm shift is impacting home care. Future-looking topics such as telemedicine and telecommunications advances are discussed only briefly. I would also have enjoyed reading more on how home care administrators can cope effectually with likely decreasing financial resources.
Although physicians undoubtedly have a key role to play in home care, this role is touched on only minimally in the text. Legal and ethical-related issues intertwined with home care are further areas which received overall scant attention. Greater selectivity should be exercised, in sum, with respect to what topics to include and their respective weightings, and what topics should be left out, in possible future editions of the text. Because of ever-changing guidelines, laws, and regulations and the pressures of cost-cutting, the landscape of home care likely will continue to change rapidly, and the timeliness of the text will be muted.
In all, this is a valuable text. The health care industry is a major sector of the American economy. Home care is a rapidly-growing part of this vibrant sector. In view of the aging population, high-technology advancements, and myriad financial pressures, the relevance and usefulness of scholarly texts on home care is unquestioned. The present edition of this handbook, particularly as a fount of pragmatic data, is much to be esteemed for its important contribution to the literature in the burgeoning home care field.