Psychosocial Aspects of Health Care addresses a variety of integrated psychosocial topics, involving clients, families, and other caregivers affected by pathology, impairment, functional limitation, and/or disability. This book is intended for students in the health care professions, such as nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, physicians and physician assistants, respiratory therapists, social workers, and students in the medical laboratory sciences. While it targets students, the text may also serve as a reference for those already practicing in their respective disciplines.
As a textbook, it could fit well into various levels of the curriculum wherever a course specifically addresses or includes psychosocial aspects of illness and disability, such as courses in social psychology of disability and rehabilitation, chronic illness, and rehabilitation psychology. This textbook would also be useful in courses that include issues in communication, family relationships, client-professional relationships, characteristics of illness and disability, adaptation to impairment and disability, manifestations of client behavior, grieving and adjusting to loss, sources of stress and support, and attitudinal and cultural differences. Therefore, it can be thought of as multilevel, being incorporated into basic, intermediate, and advanced courses.
We had three compelling reasons to write such a text. The primary purpose is to help readers understand that a key ingredient for clinical competence and professional excellence is the human factor. Second, we strongly believe in the need for clinicians to understand psychosocial aspects of health care so that they may best help clients optimize their therapeutic outcomes. This foundation area is often overlooked or devalued in favor of the "hard core" components of health care. Lastly, as educators with collectively over 100 years of experience with clients and students, we are concerned with the reported and perceived lack of students' interest in textbooks, level of readership, and appreciation of the importance of this subject in their treatment armamentarium. We believe that the style and approach of this book will hold the readers' attention and enhance their understanding of the material.
The book is divided into six parts, each subdivided into chapters. Relevant clinical examples are interspersed throughout every chapter, punctuating topic points. Real-life student journal entries introduce and are entwined throughout every chapter, reinforcing the subject, identifying biases and "too-quick" conclusions, and portraying a cross-section of disciplines, ethnicity, and cultures of health care professionals. The description and reflection of realistic, although fictitious, clinical situations add to the fabric of the discussion, creating a living case study, a breathing client problem. Reflective questions conclude each chapter, allowing for individual musings, classroom discussion, small group exercises, and student assignments. Additional readings are suggested to engage readers in further personal accounts, histories, and insights. Readers will develop self-awareness as they learn more about the psychosocial issues of health care.
Part I, "Making a Connection: Talking, Listening, and Showing You Care," addresses components of effective communication, motivation and adherence, family needs, roles, and responsibilities, and understanding your own beliefs as a health provider. Part II, "Shared Goal-Setting: Client-Professional Collaboration," explores quality of life, clients' rights and provider responsibilities, collaborative treatment-planning, and the mind-body-spirit connection. Part III, "Defining Self," discusses body image and self-concept, condition-specific characteristics, and sexuality. Part IV, "Responses to Illness and Disability that Complicate Care," considers psychiatric disorders, self-destructive behaviors, and chronic illness. Part V, "The Continuum of Loss, Grieving, and Adjustment," delves into understanding loss/grief, and adjustment related to disease, disability, and death. Finally, Part VI, "Attitudes and Perspectives: Respecting Human Differences," examines client, caregiver, and health provider personalities, attitudinal and cultural differences, and conflict.
Because readers of this text come from many health care disciplines, each with its own jargon, we have had to make editorial decisions for the sake of consistency. We have used "client" to name those with whom we work. "Caregiver" refers to personal caregivers and may be family, friends, or others with caregiving responsibilities. Variations of "health care professionals" and "health care providers" represent the readership, those who have chosen to make a career of providing care. Examples of clients and caregivers reflect both the diversity and lifespan issues inherent in today's health care environment. Similarly, the health professions and the students in the journal entries also depict our changing world.
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