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This book is a reference text. It contains information that will be of considerable assistance to those who are involved in the planning of the long term care of those with spinal cord injury in the United States. The authors, all United States based, include two spinal cord injury physicians, a behavioural scientist, and a rehabilitation counsellor.
The information in this book will assist predominantly those healthcare professionals who are closely involved in the case management of spinal cord injury. It will also be of interest to all who are involved with spinal cord injury including patients, their families, and all the many groups who work in the area including doctors, nurses, therapists, healthcare planners, lawyers, and many others. For those who already have wide knowledge of spinal cord injury care the chapter on resources and legislation may be of particular value as it contains numerous addresses and telephone contacts.
Even though the specific information in this book is largely relevant to the United States, many outside that country will find the book of interest, perhaps encouraging them to seek the comparable data relevant to their own countries. The information contained in texts such as this is a prerequisite for ensuring that there is adequate appropriate long term provision for people with spinal cord injury, especially as they age.
Inevitably in a wide ranging book there are weaknesses. For example, the debilitating orthostatic hypotension induced fatigue and coat hanger pain experienced by many persons with higher level spinal cord injury is not mentioned and the 1993 rather than the more complete 1998 United Kingdom life expectancy data are used. These omissions do not detract from the importance of this book's attempt to fill an important niche that has not been adequately addressed before.
It would be of great interest if similar texts were produced in other countries. Not only would this help improve long term care in these countries but it would also enable comparisons of costs and approaches to care to be made that would assist the evolution of ever improving systems of care for patients with spinal cord injury worldwide.
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