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Resource Reviews

Neurological Rehabilitation of Stroke

Nick Losseff, Editor

This is a small, concise reference book from England. From the introduction onward, the focus of the publication appears to be an evidence-based directory of stroke care in England. There are six chapters, and the primary author of each is a physician. The chapter on interdisciplinary team approach did have contributors from nursing, PT, OT, SLP, dietary, and psychology. The chapter had some excellent descriptions of interdisciplinary interaction; however, the roles of rehabilitation personnel in England are different from those in the United States. Other content included recovery/repair after a stroke, the impact of a stroke, a stroke survivor’s story, outcomes, and service delivery and models of care.

I found this book challenging to read. It sometimes was difficult to put things into perspective. My knowledge of the healthcare structure in England is minimal. I found myself struggling with defining terms. I never was completely sure what an “acute stroke unit” was. It probably is what we would consider a stroke “inpatient rehab unit,” though at times, I thought that it might be a hospital unit where new stroke patients were admitted, stabilized, and rehabilitated by the same interdisciplinary team. An interesting statement made at the beginnning of the last chapter was, “There is strong clinical evidence from meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that ‘stroke units’ reduce mortality, institutionalization and disability.” The final chapter discussed service delivery and models of care. Since most of the models as described do not exist in the United States, the information was interesting but not very useful.

The first chapter addressed many of the newer animal and human research studies related to stroke and discussed the newer hypotheses. There are pages of references that could keep an interested person busy for a long time. I found this the most useful chapter in the book.

Chapter five addressed outcomes. The authors focused on the WHO definitions of disability, impairment, and handicap, and discussed a plethora of tools that might help to document stroke outcomes. The Functional Independence Measure (FIM) was not mentioned.

I think the book has some value to that segment of the rehabilitation community that provides care mainly to stroke patients. Because the healthcare systems in England and the United States are so different, however, there is not a lot of information that is easily transferrable.

Taylor & Francis, 2004, $49.95, 100 pages, ISBN 1-84184-322-9

Reviewed by Joan K. McMahon, MSA BSN CRRN, spinal cord program coordinator, University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, KS.

Partnering with Patients to Reduce Medical Errors: Guidebook for Professionals

Patrice L. Spath, Editor

Editor Patrice L. Spath, a health information specialist, has written a text admonishing nurses, physicians, hospital administrators, and lawyers to engage patients as partners to reduce or eliminate medical errors and improve patient outcomes. This easy-to-read, indexed book is full of practical information that starts with safety from the consumer’s viewpoint and continues with patient interviews and detailed policies and procedures from healthcare organizations that have designed successful partnership programs. Registered nurse authors offer the critical nursing perspective and give balance to the viewpoints of coauthors. In chapter 4, for example, a nurse author suggests very specific actions that patients can take to help professionals do their jobs and protect themselves from harmful mistakes (e.g., marking the anatomical site of the procedure so that there is no confusion in the operating room).

Most chapters include helpful figures that explain key concepts. For example, there is a sample letter related to disclosure of medical error that can be sent from a hospital to a patient. Most chapters have reference lists that include nursing and other professional citations, but many articles are older than 5 years and may be outdated. A resource section for organizations, agencies, associations, and consumer groups that focuses on engaging consumers in patient safety concludes the book. Rehabilitation nurses will come away with a broader understanding of the causes of medical errors and ideas of how to participate in error prevention and reduction across the continuum of care.

Health Forum, Inc. (American Hospital Association), 2004, $47.25,198 pages, ISBN 1-55648-314-7.

Reviewed by Linda L. Pierce, PhD RN CNS CRRN FAHA, a professor at the Medical University of Ohio at Toledo, Toledo, OH, and Diane Salvador, MSN RN, a nursing instructor at the Medical University of Ohio, Toledo, OH.