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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Elliot Roth, MD (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This comprehensive book describes the practical management of patients with spinal cord injury. Although it has sufficient scholarly material for its purpose, its emphasis, appropriately, is heavily on the practical, day-to-day management of issues faced by patients with spinal cord injury. The book's major stand-out qualities are the heavy use, high quality, and strong relevance of its figures, photographs, tables, and call-out boxes that include case studies, clinical notes, and other interesting and informative material.
Purpose: The book is intended as a comprehensive, evidence-based resource for clinicians who work with patients with spinal cord injury. This is a worthwhile objective to assist clinicians in their daily management activities and in their broader understanding of the foundation for their work.
Audience: Although the book is directed more toward students and newer practitioners than experienced clinicians, select chapters might provide some novel insights and information for seasoned clinicians. It is also likely to be of greater interest to physical and occupational therapists, and potentially other rehabilitation allied health professionals, than to physicians, residents, and nurses, although it offers information that would be useful for these medical professionals as well. There are chapters that would be of interest to psychologists, nurses, case managers, and other professionals who work with patients with spinal cord injury. Sue Ann Sisto's credentials as a physical therapist, an experienced and published researcher, and a spinal cord injury care professional give her excellent credibility in this area.
Features: The comprehensiveness of this book is impressive. It provides ample discussion of each of the major intervention components of spinal cord injury care, including physical and functional evaluation and training; use of equipment and technology; psychological, social, and community issues; and even background on fundamental mechanisms and acute care, although these are relatively brief. The reviews of practical methods to train patients in physical and functional techniques are the most useful sections of the book. As noted earlier, the particular strength of this text is the heavy use of diagrams, photographs, and tables. Nearly every page has at least one figure, photograph, table, clinical note, or other box on it, and these provide excellent resources for learning and understanding. The scientific foundations, medical, and psychological sections are well written and easy to understand, but are (understandably) shorter than other components of the book. Expansion of the discussion of these issues might be worthwhile, especially as these issues might relate to other aspects of what the rehabilitation team is working on, e.g., more on how psychological issues impact functional training, or on the role of physical functional activities in reducing or minimizing medical complications, etc.
Assessment: This is a well-written, thoroughly referenced, and highly practical book for rehabilitation clinicians who work with patients with spinal cord injury. While there are other books that train rehabilitation therapists about spinal cord injury management, this book provides somewhat more of an evidence base to support the practices.