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Book review: Essential Geriatrics

Dr Harry Brown reviews Essential Geriatrics which focuses on the key aspects of ageing and healthcare for older people.

Essential Geriatrics: a review

4th edition by Dr Henry Woodford

ISBN 978-1-032-13529-8

Published by CRC Press (July 2022)

Price £130 Hardback (£52.99 paperback)

This excellent book is a single author book which alone deserves great credit in its own right.  It is a British book (the author is UK based) looking at geriatrics and is an impressive review of the specialty. It is full of practical, sensible and evidence-based advice within its 491 pages. As the title suggests, this covers everyday issues and it does it with clarity so the reader is left in no doubt what is needed in a specific and common situation.

The key points section at the end of each chapter are most useful and there are no shortages of references. Over a period of a few weeks/months, I suspect the whole book can be read or the reader can pick and choose the chapters that are relevant to their practice or needs. It is also easy to look up specific topics to be quickly read. Full chapters are devoted to important scenarios like stroke (chapter 10) and heart failure has (chapter 17).

The best part of the book is that it covers common conditions in just the right amount of detail making it a concise review of a common topics. The author’s enthusiasm and experience of front-line geriatric care shines through to make this an excellent guide. Just as important is the clarity of the prose which is clearly helped by having a single author.

The book is divided into six parts (A-F) and each part is divided into topics. The last section (F) deals with a selection of topics. For example, Part B deals with the brain whilst Part D covers falls and related topics. Each section ends with an array of multiple choice questions and the answers are in Appendix C at the end of the book.

Being a new edition, it is up to date (including Covid-19) but there is also a good use of the vast medical literature which is out there. It also pulls all the strands of care, knowledge and resources needed to manage an older patient in an impressive single volume. For me, it’s readability, conciseness, and yet impressive depth of coverage of UK geriatric clinical practice, makes this book score highly. The hardback edition is quite expensive but the paperback version offers great value for money and for the correct user, represents a good investment in helping to keep up to date in this fast moving specialty.

Dr Harry Brown is a retired GP and medical editor of Pavilion Health Today


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