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Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(5):1574-1577

Instructions for Geriatric Patients

By William A. Sodeman, Jr. Pp. 427. Price, $45.00. 2d ed. W.B. Saunders Co., Curtis Center, Independence Sq. West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Phone: 800-545-2522. ISBN: 0-721-67490-9.

Instructions for Geriatric Patients is a collection of concise informative summaries on problems encountered by older adults. The author's intent is to provide simple, clearly written material that can be given to patients or caregivers as educational aids to help enhance communication. The book addresses more than 150 topics, such as depression, heart failure, stroke, pneumonia, anemia and hypothyroidism. These topics are generally organized into chapters by anatomic systems. Several significant problems, such as tremors, confusion, incontinence and nutrition, are grouped separately. Also addressed are such geriatric issues as falls, memory aids, driving, end-of-life care and legal issues.

Each topic is presented in a one- to two-page format that features general information about the problem followed by important points in treatment and instructions on when to contact a physician. The print is large enough to accommodate the older reader, and the perforated pages allow for easy removal and facilitate photocopying. The section on nutrition contains numerous meal plans for commonly prescribed restricted diets, and illustrations appearing at the end of the book double as useful teaching guides.

Although the author attempts to provide simple, unambiguous explanations, the general vocabulary and the medical terminology in the text will pose difficulties for those with reading skills below the high school level.

Special guides for caregivers are included in many sections but are almost identical to the patient guides and thus fail to address any issues specific to caregivers and the difficulties they encounter. Several medical problems relevant to geriatrics, such as breast and colon cancer, urinary tract infections, seizures, asthma and peripheral vascular disease, are noticeably absent from the list of topics. However, the author does a thorough job of addressing many common but often overlooked complaints of older adults, such as dry skin, foot problems and sensory changes.

The author has understandably kept the treatment instructions generic to benefit a wide audience of physicians and patients, with the result that some topics lack essential information. For example, the discussion of stroke and transient ischemic attack contains no information about risk factors, and the list of signs and symptoms is incomplete. The treatment points for constipation do not mention fluid intake, dietary modification or exercise as possible helps in maintaining regular bowel function. Thankfully, these omissions can be remedied by use of the space provided at the end of each section for physicians to add more specific or relevant information. In fact, a unique aspect of this book is that it includes a CD-ROM version for PC or Macintosh computers. The electronic version, which runs on Windows, is easy to install and operate, and offers the author's basic guides plus a template that can be customized by physicians who wish to incorporate additional information.

Overall, this book is a valuable and convenient source of educational guides for family physicians and other primary care providers, one that could serve to initiate the geriatric patient teaching process. If physicians take time to review topics and add more specific information where needed, these informative guidelines will no doubt be enhanced.

Gynecology in Primary Care: A Step-by-Step Approach

By Robert L. Barbieri, Sarah L. Berga, Alan H. DeCherney, Jesse Hade and Ellen E. Sheets. Pp. 105. Price, $24.95. Scientific American Medicine, 415 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017, 1999. Phone: 800-545-0554. ISBN: 0-894-54032-7.

Gynecology for the Primary Care Physician

Edited by Thomas G. Stovall and Frank W. Ling. Pp. 434. Price, $79.95. Current Medicine, 400 Market St., Ste. 700, Philadelphia, PA 19106, 1999. Phone: 800-427-1796. ISBN: 1-573-40126-9.

Two new resources are available for primary care physicians who wish to review office-based gynecology. Gynecology in Primary Care: A Step by Step Approach is a tool suitable for the physician looking for a handy reference guide, while Gynecology for the Primary Care Physician is more appropriate for those wishing to gain more in-depth knowledge of gynecology and gynecologic procedures.

Gynecology in Primary Care is a monograph-sized booklet reviewing twenty common presenting gynecologic problems. Each chapter includes a short introduction followed by a clinical algorithm to aid diagnosis and treatment. The algorithms are complete with detailed explanations, notes, tables and figures. The discussions are thorough, yet short enough to be a useful reference during a brief patient encounter. Written by a small group of academic obstetricians and gynecologists, the succinct booklet consists of high-quality information presented in a user-friendly layout. The book also includes a list of relevant references at the end of each chapter, which provide a good outline for further reading.

Gynecology for the Primary Care Physician is a textbook-sized reference written by 61 specialists at various levels of training. While more comprehensive than Gynecology in Primary Care, it is less practical for clinicians. The chapters include additional information on epidemiology and pathophysiology, and more thorough discussions of specific studies than those found in the smaller book. Many chapters also include descriptions of individual procedures that are outside the scope of practice of most family physicians. For example, the chapter on management of breast masses provides information on performing stereotactic core-needle biopsy and open surgical biopsy, which are not usually performed in a family practice setting. In addition, an entire chapter focuses on the different surgical techniques available for sterilization. While the text is dotted with figures, illustrations, tables and algorithms, few are designed to provide a comprehensive approach to the patient.

Gynecology for the Primary Care Physician reflects the specialist perspective of its authors. It might be helpful to doctors who desire more information with which to counsel their patients before referring them for gynecologic procedures. However, for doctors looking for a quick reference to answer clinical questions, Gynecology in Primary Care proves a much better resource.

Also Received

Asthma Management: Clinical Pathways, Guidelines and Patient Education

Edited by Jo Gulledge. Price, $69.00. Aspen Publishers, 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., Ste. 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, 1999. Phone: 800-638-8437. ISBN: 0-834-21705-8.

Breast Cancer

Edited by Daniel F. Roses. Pp. 688. Price, $165.00. Churchill Livingstone, Curtis Center, Independence Sq. West, Philadelphia, PA 19106, 1999. Phone: 800-553-5426. ISBN: 0-443-05581-5.

Cancer: The Evolutionary Legacy

By Mel Greaves. Pp. 240. Price, $30.00. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016-4314, 2000. Phone: 800-445-9714. ISBN: 0-192-62835-6.

Diagnostic Strategies for Common Medical Problems

Edited by Edgar Black, Donald Bordley, Thomas Tape and Robert Panzer. Pp. 614. Price, $45.00. 2d ed. American College of Physicians, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1512, 1999. Phone: 800-523-1546. ISBN: 0-943-12674-6.

Handbook of Couple and Family Forensics: A Source Book for Mental Health and Legal Professionals

Edited by Florence W. Kaslow. Pp. 554. Price, $75.00. John Wiley & Sons, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012. Phone: 212-850-6011. ISBN: 0-471-19129-9.

Managed Care Pharmacy Practice

By Robert P. Navarro. Pp. 656. Price, $49.00. Aspen Publishers, Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., Gaithersburg, MD 20878, 1999. Phone: 800-638-8437. ISBN: 0-834-21205-6.

The New Cancer Survivors: Living with Grace, Fighting with Spirit

By Natalie Davis Spingarn. Pp. 241. Price, $45.00. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2715 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218-4363, 1999. Phone: 800-537-5487. ISBN: 0-801-86266-3.

Patients and Doctors: Life Changing Stories from Primary Care

Edited by Jeffrey Borkan, Shmuel Reis, Dov Steinmetz and Jack Medalie. Pp. 221. Price, $24.95. University of Wisconsin Press, 2537 Daniels St., Madison, WI 53718-6772, 1999. Phone: 773-568-1550. ISBN: 0-299-16340-7.

The Practicing Physician's Approach to Headache

Edited b Merle Diamond and Glen Solomon. Pp. 272. Price, $45.00. 6th ed. Saunders, Curtis Center, Independence Sq. West, Philadelphia, PA 19106, 1999. Phone: 800-545-2522. ISBN: 0-721-66999-9.

Secrets of Ginseng

By Winifred Conkling. Pp. 243. Price, $5.99. St. Martin's Paperbacks, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010, 1999. Phone: 800-221-7945. ISBN: 0-312-97072-2.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Nutrition Manual

By Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. Price, $196.00. Aspen Publishers, 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., Gaithersburg, MD 20878. Phone: 800-638-8437. ISBN: 0-834-20335-9.

Women's Mental Health in Primary Care

By Kathryn J. Zerbe. Pp. 366. Price, $39.00. W.B. Saunders Co., Curtis Center, 625 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106, 1999. Phone: 800-545-2522. ISBN: 0-721-67239-6.

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