Book reviews

The Perspectives of People with Dementia

Edited by Heather Wilkinson, Jessica Kingley Publishers

ISBN 1 843 10 001 0, £14.95

Can you imagine what it is like to get a diagnosis of dementia,
a progressive brain condition that destroys memory, speech and
recognition? For years, we have been so quick to visualise it, so
horrified by its possibilities, that we have neglected to ask those
with the condition what it feels like. People with this diagnosis
have been swiftly marginalised and spoken for, regarded as the
passive subjects of research.

The Perspectives of People with Dementia challenges the attitudes
of professionals and care-givers, who dismiss the contribution
people with dementia can make to research. The book focuses on
issues of communication, informed consent and data collection in
the context of working with people suffering from a brain condition
that progressively impairs cognitive functioning.

Discussions about different research methodologies and protocols
may seem a little abstract to the average reader, but what leaps
from the page is how positively people living with the diagnosis of
dementia can experience contributing to research. The opportunity
to speak about what is happening to them, and to have what they say
validated by it forming part of a research project, is clearly
therapeutic, and, shamefully, rare.

Rachel Wooller is an outreach worker for the Alzheimer’s

Risk Assessment in People with Learning Disabilities

Carol Sellars, Blackwell Publishers,

ISBN 0631235477, £19.99

Literature focusing on risk in relation to the needs of people
with learning difficulties is scarce; this book goes a long way to
fill that void. It starts by exploring the general concepts of
risk, but later examines areas of potentially greater risk in
relation to people with a learning difficulty, including
behavioural issues and sexual offending.

Through case studies, the processes of risk assessment and related
practices are considered, with short summaries at the end of each
chapter reaffirming the conclusions. The author presents a balanced
viewpoint, acknowledging the dilemmas faced by carers working with
people who have learning difficulties. Thus the material is
accessible and relevant for care staff.

The book also looks at risk management strategies, monitoring,
review and reassessment. Issues of user-empowerment and the
difficulties faced by staff balancing user choice and rights with
risk-taking are addressed, but readers may wish to read other texts
for specific guidance on how to involve service users.

This straightforward book closes by reinforcing the significance of
correct risk-assessment procedures in ensuring quality of life for
people with learning difficulties.

Karin Crawford is senior lecturer in social work, Hull
School of Health and Social Care, University of

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