Rx for Communicating with Your Doctor/Patient
By 2050, people 65 and older will comprise 20% of the United States population. The number of Americans over 80 is expected to increase to almost 32 million, with 1 million, celebrating their 100th birthdays (see footnote 1). Even though Americans 65 and older represent only 13% of the population, this group uses a third of all healthcare services and occupies half of physicians’ time (see footnote 2).
“Be more assertive with doctors. It’s okay to bring an advocate. While I’ve had lists before, your system is much more organized–like keeping questions in one file that I can grab and copy when we see my son’s doctors.”
– Sharon Parker, 20-plus year Caregiver to son with spinal cord injury
More medical specialists in geriatric care are needed to provide the complex treatments typically required by an elder population with multiple chronic conditions and and on multiple medications.
Applying Tools & Communication Skills
Doctors and patients who view themselves as partners as they follow these 5 tips will insure optimal medical care.
- Patient: Create a list of 3 issues to discuss with your doctor.
List these in priority order to ensure the most important issues are covered during the 10 – 15 minutes of face-time you share with your doctor.
- Doctor: Communicate clearly with your patient.
Attentively listen to what s/he says. Take notes to help you and your patient stay focused. Discuss the need for tests. Discuss treatment options and the reasons for, risks and side effects of each option. Make sure your patient comprehends the recommended care plan by asking him/her to explain his/her understanding.
- Patient: Bring a list of your medications, supplements, and treatments to your doctor.
Click here for an easy-to-use Records Matrix for Rx, Supplements.
- Doctor: Be patient with your older patient.
Visualize talking with your own cherished family elder. Commit to devoting dedicated extended time with your older patient, at least once a year.
- Patient: Take notes and, if needed, bring a family, friend, or advocate with you to the doctor.
For more information, click on:
Rx for Talking with Your Patient / Doctor
TALK with your Doctor! (Part I of III) Patient Advocate: Should you bring one?
Together, patients and doctors can take steps to communicate more openly, clearly, and meaningfully, ensuring better medical care. Results: Reduced Misdiagnoses, Increased Patient-Doctor Satisfaction, Greater Adherence to Treatment, & Reduced Risk of Fatalities.
The Looming Crisis in Geriatric Care
(The link for this editorial posted to Postgraduate Medicine: The Practical Peer-Reviewed Journal for Primary Care Physicians, is no longer active.
Training Physicians in Geriatric Care: Responding to Critical Need
[the correct address uses the misspelled word]