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Edited by Michael P Barnes, Harriet Radermacher. Cambridge: Published by Cambridge University Press, 2003, £55.00 (hardback), pp 244. ISBN 0 521 80874 X.
This book must have been extraordinarily hard to conceive and write. The word “community” has no easy definition; the word rehabilitation is interpreted differently by almost everyone; only neurology has a reasonably certain meaning. Unfortunately the authors have not managed to overcome these obstacles very well, writing a book that has some good parts but is unlikely to satisfy the expectations of most (potential) readers.
Indeed it is not clear who the book is aimed at. Much of it is related to the UK, but parts suddenly refer to the “South” (another word with no clear meaning and not well defined). The section on evidence is appropriate for a critical academic, but other parts are much more discursive without being directly practical.
The best chapter is that on the evidence base for community rehabilitation. The authors have identified a wide range of relevant studies that should be useful to anyone interested in this topic.
Most other chapters are relatively unstructured, being brief reviews of topics, such as measurement of outcome, that try to cover a large topic generally, with a passing reference to its application to community rehabilitation.
Books on community rehabilitation are a current publishing favourite, presumably because of the increasing interest in trying to reduce health expenditure and (if one is charitable) because rehabilitation delivered to people in their own homes or workplaces might be more effective. Unfortunately there are no books known to me that have risen to the challenge. This book is another attempt that unfortunately fails.