Books reviewed by James Woodward

JKP Resource Material

Working with Adult Abuse, Jacki Pritchard, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2007, ISBN: 9781843105091, Pb, 413pp, £50.00

Introducing Mental Heath, Caroline and Connor Kinsella,Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2006, ISBN:1843102609, Pb, 158pp, £19.99

Dementia Care Training Manual for Staff Working in Nursing and Residential Settings, Danny Walsh, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2006, ISBN: 9781843103189, Pb, 240pp, £27.99

Jessica Kingsley Publishers continue to produce a range of training materials of the highest quality. This small publishing firm has established an international reputation for its’ skill in drawing the best out of authors and producing material in an accessible and useable shape. These three training manuals are exemplars in the field and all care homes should have access to them as part of their resource library for learning and training.

Working with Adult Abuse, Jacki PritchardAll of those working in social care have been increasingly aware of their responsibility to protect and safeguard vulnerable adults across statutory, voluntary and independent sectors. The success, if it can be described in that way, of the Pritchard book is that it comprehensively engages with all aspects of adult protection work, from suspecting or making an allegation that abuse is happening, through to the investigation and case conference stages. It achieves comprehensiveness by including consideration of risk assessment, but manages to do this, by providing materials for both basic awareness training through to more advanced and in depth training. The resource covers specific sections of society, such as older people, younger people, black and minority ethnic people, and specialised chapters including additional training materials and case studies. The material achieves clarity in the theoretical framework and helps the participant to work through what the theory means for practice. Exercises, handouts, key learning points, case examples and suggested reading are all part of this approach.

Introducing Mental Heath, Caroline and Connor KinsellaThe Kinsella resource on introducing mental health will be of particular value in my organisation because it is so easy to read and splendidly free of jargon. The authors explain key concepts and easily understandable language, accessible even with no prior knowledge of the subject. My own understanding was hugely enriched by engaging with this material. In depth practical information is also included in the mental health act; diagnosis of medication; risk assessment and management; violent and challenging behaviour and communication between agencies.

While I would have appreciated a broader and more philosophical discussion about mental health in society today, (Are there societal courses of mental health? Do we live in a population whose health is less stable? Do organisations through their practice threaten good health?), this book offers an introduction from which some of these broader and sociological questions might be asked. One further note of encouragement. The quality of this writing and engagement is undoubtedly related to the fact that both of the authors have nearly 40 years experience of working with patients with mental health problems. The text, therefore, is never allowed to stray into processes that are not practical and not focused on the individual and their needs. More experienced practitioners need to be enabled to write and reflect in this way.

Dementia Care Training Manual for Staff Working in Nursing and Residential Settings, Danny WalshFor those of us working primarily with older people, the challenge of dementia continues to be, in some respects, both overlooked and certainly under-resourced. Put another way, what would dementia care look like if it attracted as much interest and support as cancer care? Have we taken on board the implications of our ageing population and the consequent needs, especially around dementia that older people bring.

Walsh tackles the issue of dementia care with rigour and comprehensiveness. There are 36 chapters, dealing with specific subjects and they achieve their aim in offering an accessible and interactive resource book for front line staff. I have tested the material with some of my care staff and found them to be of enormous use, in enabling carers to examine working practice and to develop it to meet an individuals needs. This resource is an absolute must for anyone who wishes to develop the practice of dementia care.

James Woodward