The arrival of The Guide to Good Health for Teens and Adults with Down syndrome by Dennis McGuire and Brian Chicone (Woodbine House, 2010) was much anticipated. All copies of the authors’ last book, Mental wellness for adults with Down syndrome, are continually borrowed from the library and most borrowers end up buying their own copy to refer to and re-read. I think The Guide to Good Health will be just as popular.
It is clear reading both books that the authors, Brian Chicoine and Dennis McGuire, directors of the Adult Down Syndrome Center of Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago, have spent much time with teenagers and adults with Down syndrome. That time has built up knowledge, respect towards, compassion and understanding of people with Down syndrome. It is clear that the authors have the skill and desire to help people with Down syndrome achieve good health and satisfying lives. It would be great if we all could have such doctors looking after us. The Guide to Good Health provides the next best thing.
Chicoine & McGuire explain the issues that affect health care of people with Down syndrome. They discuss how to promote good health in teens and adults, what doctor visits can achieve, what health problems occur more or less frequently in people with Down syndrome, how health concerns present differently and the interaction between physical and mental health. They use many case studies throughout the book to illustrate how problems may present.
A large section of the book is devoted to information about specific conditions that may occur in a person with Down syndrome. This section covers all areas of the body—skin and nail problems; ear, nose and throat and dental concerns; eye and vision; cardiac and pulmonary; gastrointestinal and liver; urology; orthopedic; thyroid and diabetes; gynecology; and neurological issues. Sleep problems, healthy sexuality and abuse prevention, cancer and Alzheimer disease are also included. Each condition’s symptoms, diagnosis and treatments are covered. A new parent may be overwhelmed at the possibilities but for parents of teens and adults, the descriptions and information are very useful when trying to decide whether further investigation is warranted or when a problem seems likely and more information is needed. This section would be particularly helpful to health professionals or carers working with people with Down syndrome.
Hospitalisation and care, long-term health care (including living arrangements), end of life decision (advance directives) as well as addenda with the health screening guidelines and recommendations on drinking fluids are also included.
A book like this has long been needed. The format is easy to use. The case studies, photos and sidebars all add to understanding. It complements Mental Wellness very well. There is some overlap between the two, but The Guide to Good Health focuses largely on medical issues and Mental Wellness focuses on behavioural issues. I feel that The Guide to Good Health is a required reference book for any health professional working with people with Down syndrome and family members will also find it extremely useful.
Adult Down Syndrome Clinic on Facebook - has many interesting notes.
To borrow The Guide to Good Health... or Mental Wellness ... or any other resources, just call or email us.