The authors of this book – a consultant surgeon, a pharmacist and a psychologist – recognise that going into hospital can leave patients, families and carers feeling overwhelmed. They even suggest that the experience of arriving in such an unfamiliar environment where people wear strange uniforms and speak a language which can be difficult to understand is similar to that of visiting a foreign country. As a result, they wrote this book in the style of a travel guide.
Like most travel guides, the opening chapters of the book provide general information to help the reader find their way around their new surroundings. This includes an excellent explanation of the different types of staff who will look after the patient, hospital ward routines and some of the tests and investigations that might be undertaken. The later chapters are structured to enable readers to dip into those sections relevant to their individual needs, such as receiving a blood transfusion. Useful tables are provided throughout the book to summarise the information and advice is given on what sort of questions might be asked of the patient and by them.
Although the main aim of the book is to provide simple and practical general advice for the average adult patient there are sections about children and older people. There is a useful appendix listing websites that offer more detailed advice and information about specific treatments.
The book does not have an index, although the list of contents is detailed enough to enable the reader to find the chapter most likely to have the information required. Neither does the book have a section of useful phrases such as might be found in a travel guide. Although a few medical terms, jargon and acronyms are explained in the text, a dedicated list of those commonly used would be useful.
This reasonably priced book is user friendly and suitable for the lay reader. It will be most helpful in preparing a patient for the hospital experience and become more actively involved in their own healthcare in order to achieve the best outcome from their treatment.
‘Going into hospital? A guide for patients, carers and families’ by Oliver Warren, Bryony Dean Franklin and Charles Vincent. Pp ix+297 Paperback £14.99 e-book £9.99. Oxon: Eastdown Publishing; 2015. ISBN 978 0 9933122 0 5.