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From The CriticsReviewer: Diane M. Hartwig, MS, ACNP, BC, CRRN (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This book addresses issues that persons who are aging with spinal cord injuries (SCI) experience and options to manage these issues. It is written at the consumer level for the person with the SCI and for persons who care for and about them.
Purpose: The book does a nice job of meeting the author's objectives of identifying problems that persons with SCI may encounter as they age and providing both hope and practical advice on how to address the issues. Aging with a SCI is of increasing interest to both persons with SCI and their healthcare providers. The book is timely and effective.
Audience: The author writes for persons with SCI, their family and/or caregivers. The book is a thorough review of most areas of care and complications. Basic information is provided at a readable level. Appropriately, readers would have to access further medical advice and input from their healthcare providers to address issues and problems discussed in the book. The author suggests sound practical applications of the information presented.
Features: The book is quite thorough in the areas of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, skin and dental problems, emotional well-being, wheelchairs and mobility, vans and minivans, upgrades in rehabilitation, finances and insurance, and attendant care, with a chapter devoted to each topic. The book is comprehensive without going into too much depth and becoming overwhelming. The appendixes include a note for caregivers, a glossary, and a list of resources. All address the basics and are helpful to readers, but are not going to answer very specific questions, which is appropriate for this level of book. Shortcomings include the very small print in the musculoskeletal system chapter below the illustrations. This print is essentially unreadable, a significant problem since it is intended to be instructional. Additionally, one cannot help but notice the omission of a section on sexuality, sexual function, and sexual health. This is an unfortunate lapse, because otherwise the book is quite thorough in addressing essential topics. The author also tends to touch on a number of issues in the early chapters, but does not develop them at that time in enough depth for a good understanding, thus leaving readers with questions early on. Initially, the impression is that problematic issues are identified or listed without direction as to how to address them, although most of them are addressed in detail later in specific chapters. It would have been helpful if the author indicated that these topics would be clarified further in the chapters that follow.
Assessment: This is a good general overview for patients of topics they need to be aware of as they age with their SCI. I would have liked to have seen some references for opinions, treatments, and medications that are suggested. Though all seem appropriate, there are multiple other options available and treatments will vary depending on the patient and the healthcare provider. Additionally, a chapter on sexuality is very obviously missing.