NVQs in Nursing and Residential Care Homes (Second edition) By Linda Nazarko Blackwell Science 288 pages £13.99

This useful publication aims to help the growing number of care assistants undertaking national vocational qualifications in care, but will also be helpful to staff not working towards these awards.

It is as up-to-date as it can be, making reference to the Care Standards Bill 2000, although developments in the sector - and with personnel delivering care - are constant. It will also prove to be a valuable asset to NVQ assessors in planning their processes with candidates, especially in the 'portfolio preparation' guidelines contained at the end of each chapter.

There is an assumption within the text that nursing and residential care homes are purely for the older person, but there are a growing number that care for people with learning difficulties, mental health problems or with long-term problems affecting younger people.

Chapter 13, on promotion of continence issues, covers well the issues raised in one unit: 'Enable clients to access and use toilet facilities, ' but heavily impinges on another: 'Contribute to the management of client continence.'

Although it is often difficult to separate the two aspects of care, this may mislead care assistants who may well extend out of their roles in the promotion of continence.

It is difficult to produce a text which covers the entire suite of units contained within the NVQ level-2 in care framework, totalling 29 units, of which the number of units needed to make up the award is nine. But the author has selected and covered the most common ones under taken by care assistants.

A number of chapters introduce anatomy and physiology of associated structures - for example, chapter nine, 'Mobility'.

But this theme is not consistent throughout the text. Chapter 11, 'Preventing pressure sores', does not include anatomy and physiology of the skin. This would have been helpful, if not essential, for care assistants to visualise potential, and actual problems.

The book is well written but might have appealed to an even wider audience if Scottish vocational qualifications could have been encompassed within the title. Although exactly the same processes are entailed, Scotland calls these qualifications 'Scottish vocational qualifications'. With the issues of devolution, this notion will have greater implications in the future.

Anne Eaton Vocational qualifications/education adviser, Royal College of Nursing.