The other day I pulled out my old copy of “Protocols in Primary Care Geriatrics” (the second edition, published by Springer in 1997). It was translated (for some strange reason) into Japanese a few years later, and the first edition was published in 1991. It brought back certain memories of a youngish geriatrics doctor trying to get his ideas about practice down on paper, and teaching residents and medical students.
At a recent conference where I was presenting, I found myself talking about care of the elderly with a wonderful group of medical, nursing, and social work students. One of the things these folks seem to be looking for is common-sense approaches to basic clinical problems in care of the elderly. After looking it over recently, I think I can say that “Protocols” is still a not-too-bad source of that sort of information.
How useful can a 15-year-old textbook be? Well, some of the drugs are definitely out of date. But it does contain reasonably safe and practical instructions for dealing with falling, incontinence, confusion, constipation, agitation, and a bunch of other problems that health professionals see every day of their lives in caring for frail older people. I was a bit surprised at how current some of the information looked from my present point of view. If you are a primary care provider looking after old people, or just want to research practical strategies, you might consider getting ahold of a copy if you can find one at some sort of reasonable price.
The book is out of print, but you can chase it down by googling it or searching it at Amazon. I was shocked at the Amazon list price: $109! (It’s a 200-page thin paperback textbook) But you can get through many of the secondhand sellers for a tiny fraction of that. Good hunting…