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Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Guide for Patients and Their Families


Stein, S.H., & Rood, R.P. (Eds.) (1998). (2nd ed.), Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, ISBN: 0397517718, Paperback, 235 pp., $42.95.


Reviewer: Sharon Dudley-Brown, PhD, APRN, BC, FNP, Assistant Professor and Director, Family Nurse Practitioner Program; Co-Director, Promoting Healthy Families in Vulnerable Communities Program, Catholic University of America School of Nursing, Washington, DC.


Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Guide for Patients and Their Families is the official patient guide of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). As its title implies, it is written specifically for people with inflammatory bowel disease. This second edition, as described in the Foreword, is actually a combination (and update) of two publications: one with the same title authored by two prominent gastroenterologists, and the other the "Crohn's & Colitis Fact Book" authored by the CCFA (then known as the National Foundation for Ileitis and Colitis, NFIC).


The book is organized into 14 chapters, each authored by experts, covering topics such as normal GI anatomy and function, types of IBD, diet and nutrition, medical and surgical therapies, IBD in adolescents, IBD in pregnancy, emotional support, alternative medicine, and a final chapter on the role of the CCFA. The tone of the book is informative and straightforward and the writing style makes it easy to understand, as it is written for laypeople, not for health-care providers. The authors have used an evidenced-based approach, providing references when appropriate. Sadly, and the most striking thing about the text, is the minimal input from the nursing profession and the nursing literature.


While seeming to be a wonderful resource for our patients as well as a basic reference guide for nurses working with this population, its publication date makes it currently less useful. The chapters on the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and etiology of IBD is clearly in need of updating, as are the chapters on medical and surgical therapies. Even the chapter on alternative therapies, while still potentially useful, should be updated to include some of the newer research in this field, which has exploded in the past few years. I am anxious to see another edition in the near future!!


The chapter on managing the emotional impact of IBD is the highlight of this book. While lacking mention of any clear scientific evidence to support the author's recommendations, this chapter contains some very helpful points for dealing with any chronic disease. Written by a psychologist, the chapter recognizes the fact that living with IBD is not fun, and that "the power of positive thinking" can go a long way in trying to cope with the uncertainties of IBD. This chapter alone may be reason to purchase a book published in 1998 on such an important area in gastroenterology as IBD!!