Interacting with the Elderly Patient, Family, and Referring Physicians

  • Dennis W. Jahnigen


The relationship of the physician with an elderly patient involves more than simple application of the most current diagnostic and therapeutic information. Knowing this is necessary but not sufficient to ensure an optimum outcome. It also requires recognition of the differences and similarities between the patient and the physician. It requires sensitivity to age-related changes that may increase the anxiety associated with illness for the patient and that may increase the difficulty of obtaining accurate historical and physical information for the physician. It also involves appreciation of differences in the values among elderly patients and a willingness to negotiate what may be medically indicated or medically possible, with what is most desirable from the patient’s frame of reference. The goals of therapy for an elderly person may lie in relief of symptoms rather than a cure, preservation of independent living rather than returning to employment, and easing suffering at the end of life rather than fighting death.


Elderly Patient Elderly Person Truth Telling Community Dwelling Elderly Person Medieal Decision 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Dennis W. Jahnigen

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