The essence of a good cookery book is that it provides enough step-by-step guidance to the user without making them feel a failure if the finished product doesn't look like the picture.
In the development of teaching packs, this is an important principle to work with, as teaching styles and the learners' responses can differ significantly.
This pack goes some way towards achieving the 'cookery book' formula and should be useful to many registered nurses involved in teaching care workers. It focuses on six physical aspects of care needed by many older people: continence, leg ulcers, constipation, strokes, diabetes, and nutrition. It is designed as a resource for registered nurses teaching care workers about meeting these needs.
For each topic area, the pack includes everything from the poster to announce the teaching session to the handout for participants. An evaluation process for the overall teaching pack is also included.
Each topic area has identified learning objectives, background anatomy and physiology, physical presentation and care issues.
The pack's strength is its simplicity. Most registered nurses should be able to use it, drawing on their existing knowledge.
It doesn't set out to be an all encompassing guide, but focuses on key issues. The information is factual and accurate.
The pack should help to demystify some difficult physiological concepts for many care workers new to this information.
The physiology is appropriately applied - and at a suitable academic level.
However, the title is misleading.
Without reading the small print, it gives the impression it is aimed at registered nurses and not care workers. The title 'trained' nurse is outdated. It would be more contemporary to use the term 'registered' nurse.
Although the pack is published by Age Concern, in only one topic area - continence - is the issue of ageing changes explicitly addressed.
This is a weakness, and the pack user would need much knowledge of physiological ageing to ensure that the finished product bears some resemblance to the 'intended picture'. More emphasis on promotion and prevention activities would have been helpful.
Despite these limitations, this is a useful teaching package. But, like the cookery book, don't assume you can produce a result like the picture if your own knowledge base is 'limited'.