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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Donna Marie Minner, BSN, RN (University of Missouri-Columbia)
Description: This is a well organized synthesis of research, best practice, and application for dealing with wandering behaviors of cognitively impaired elders.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide information to clinicians who face the day-to-day challenges of caring for persons who wander. The book succeeds in meeting these objectives through concise summaries of the literature along with practical tools and best practice examples. For those who care for frail elderly who wander, this book should serve as a great resource and ready handbook.
Audience: While written mainly for gerontologists and nurses, this book can be used for teaching all staff members cause, effect, and interventions that are appropriate for those who wander. As a long-term care nurse and consultant/research nurse for many years, I feel this book can make an important contribution for staff who struggle with these behaviors on a daily basis. I know that I will certainly carry and reference it in my own work. Both editors have extensive backgrounds in quality care of frail elders and the recognition of their needs for autonomy and safety.
Features: One of the best features of this book is its organization. It is laid out logically taking readers through the basic constructs, the assessment process, issues associated with wandering, appropriate interventions, and future directions for research. One of the most critical problems in some care venues today is the loss of the nursing process and a tendency to intervene without assessment. While I am not familiar with all of the authors, many are recognized expert clinicians and researchers in the field of gerontology. This book highlights the importance of good assessment or root cause analysis in identification of cause that leads to treatment. The one concern I have is the continued use of the phrases "behavior management" and "behavior problems" in the light of Donna Algase's research into need-based behavior. The words we use influence those we teach and those words create an unequal relationship, giving the impression that behaviors are the problem rather than the best communication possible of a need or problem.
Assessment: This book contains the components necessary for helping clinicians through the process of understanding, assessing, and intervening in wandering behaviors. With this compilation of research, tools, and practice, caregivers should be able to improve day-to-day care through better understanding and increased knowledge of why wandering occurs and how best to intervene. I have not seen a book that does a better job with synthesis or provision of good concise information to those in need.