Reviewed by Jim Young
Edited by: Cathy E Lloyd & Tom Heller
Published by SAGE Publications Ltd
Paperback ISBN: 9780857027504 £25:99
Hardcover ISBN: 9780857027498 £74:00
Reading the notes about the editors and contributors to this book effuses a confidence that it will allay any anxiety that one might have about a lack of perspective or efficacy in the care of people with long-term conditions. The series of essays cover both health and social care, and the book starts off, where it should, with the service user’s perspective on receiving care.
Each chapter opens with overview and ends with summary along with suggested further reading. Throughout the book patients’ and carers’ stories and observations are highlighted in boxes.
The first concept brought to our attention is that illness / disability is a duality, emphasising that either can exist alone or together.
Part one sets the scene for rest of book by colouring in the background perspective of patient experiences and the implications of treatment regimes for the recipient. The transition from being fit to being someone with a long-term condition can be sudden, and chapter 7 describes the user’s experiences alongside managerial considerations, and discusses the implications of Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) targets.
The second section “Working with people with LT conditions” opens with an innovative (and informative) concept of a discussion between a service user and a researcher /academic. It compares and contrasts the medical and social models.
It is a sobering thought that as we live longer it is inevitable that we may all experience the transition from carer to service user, and the final chapter of the book asks if there are ways in which we can prepare (both as individuals and as a society) in case we develop a long term condition. Not forgetting that one can also become a carer just as suddenly.Embedded throughout the book are the experiences of people with long term conditions and their carers, and this does provide a unique perspective on this major health challenge, on the policies needed, along with an invitation for the professionals involved to reconsider their management polices and practice protocols based on sound evidence.
As such it is a pertinent text for courses that prepare practitioners and managers for the optimising care for people with long term conditions and equally importantly for empathising with their predicament.
Finally, although it is not the “thrust” of this book, it immediately brought to my mind the thought that the needs of people with long term conditions, and the all-encompassing professional support that is discussed in the book, does emphasise why the balance between the therapeutic needs and the financial constraints of our health service must be biased towards the care so competently described in this book.