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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Neuropsychological rehabilitation, once heralded as the gold-standard treatment for brain injury, has recently come under greater scrutiny due to the weakness in empirical evidence for its benefits. Several large meta-analyses have been conducted in the last decade, testifying to the growing body of scientific literature. This book helps to consolidate that information.
Purpose: The main purpose is to summarize the scientific literature on neuropsychological rehabilitation, but the book does so without losing sight of the clinical and practical aspects of an integrated program. It also includes patient outcomes, which are often neglected in this field.
Audience: This will be of interest primarily to neuropsychologists, but also will intrigue paraprofessionals involved in rehabilitation, such as speech and occupational therapists. It is written at an appropriate level for graduate students through professionals. The editors are well respected in the neuropsychological rehabilitation arena, but contributing authors are selected from a very narrow pool, most from the same rehabilitation facility.
Features: An introduction to rehabilitation begins the book before it tackles the topic of research design and methodology. Designs ranging from randomized clinical trials to ecologically valid case studies are reviewed. Outcomes and cost-effectiveness are also detailed, which is a critical component of research. There is a fair review of the current literature in this regard. What follows is a history and description of the rehabilitation facility where most of the editors and authors work. The relevance of this inclusion is dubious. Fortunately, subsequent chapters get back on track with specific outlines of rehabilitation programs for attention and memory, which include specific suggestions and sample materials. Consideration of mood management is also included. Some helpful case examples allow readers to see how the assessment results informed specific interventions. Later in the book, more diverse interventions are addressed, including communication skills, groups, and family involvement. More in-depth case examples are presented at the end of the book for a variety of different problems from aphasia to stroke to traumatic brain injury. Lamentably, the final chapter returns to the editors' facility and does not provide much in the way of methodologically strong quantitative outcome studies, but rather mentions some qualitative studies and subjective impressions.
Assessment: Overall, this is a helpful book for practical rehabilitation techniques and structuring programs. Readers already working in this field will relate to the case examples and glean important strategies from them. Convincing empirical support for the benefits of rehabilitation and outcomes continues to be sparse and is not bolstered by this book.