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Who should advocate for older patients in the hospital? Print E-mail
Written by Bonnie Friedman and Sara L. Merwin, MPH | KevinMD   
Friday, 23 August 2019 17:41

It's often said that pediatricians and veterinarians have the hardest jobs in medicine because their patients can't tell them where it hurts. But the same is often true for the healthcare professionals treating older patients who can't communicate well or don't fully understand what's being explained to them. So, whose job is it to advocate for these patients? The answer is that everyone on the medical team must play a role, working together for the good of the patient. In practical terms, this means families must be considered part of the team. Often families or other caregivers can fill in the gaps, serve as interpreters and connect the dots for patients who have cognitive loss, confusion, or are not sufficiently organized to report accurately on history and symptomatology. By engaging with family members, physicians, and nurses can glean important information that may affect decision-making about diagnosis, treatment options, and appropriate testing modalities. The additional input may conserve valuable time for the workup, prevent delays in initiation of appropriate treatment, and sometimes make the difference between life and death.

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Last Updated on Friday, 23 August 2019 17:54

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