More hospitals are changing the way they care for patients. The “treat ‘em and street ‘em” philosophy is giving way to emotional connections to ensure a patient’s recovery sticks. However, if a doctor is not being empathetic with your family member, you don’t have to stay silent and let it happen. You can act.
More and more studies show there is a relationship between empathy on the part of doctors and positive clinical outcomes. For example, a recent study found that diabetes patients of physicians with high empathy scores were significantly more likely to have good control over their blood sugar as well as cholesterol, while the opposite was true for patients of physicians with low empathy scores.
Because of this growing data, more hospitals are training their doctors on how to provide empathy. It improves the patient experience and gets the entire medical staff higher scores when it comes to quality. Medical professionals find that when they express more empathy it creates stronger connections with patients and this, in turn, makes it more fulfilling for a doctor to do his or her job.
While some doctors remain skeptical, the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General proved it could successfully train residents and staff to understand to More >
According to experts, sleep patterns naturally change as people get older. Older adults sleep for fewer hours and take longer to fall asleep. They also sleep less deeply and wake up more often during the night. Normal aging is not the only cause for sleep problems. Alzheimer’s disease, certain medications, and stress can all cause sleep problems.
People who do not sleep well are at risk for other health problems, including depression. The problem is that many older adults who have trouble sleeping don’t get help for it. The people who need help but don’t get it is the focus of National Sleep Awareness Week, which was March 3-10. The end of the week actually coincides with the clock change to Daylight Saving Time, where Americans lose one hour of sleep.
To help people sleep, WebMD assembled several tips to help improve sleep for older adults. If you care for an older adult who does not sleep well, encourage him or her to try these tips:
• Get regular exercise and get out in the sunshine during the day. • Keep the bedroom cool, quiet, and dark in the evening and night. • If possible, keep food and snacks out of the bed. • If More >
It is never too early to think about end-of-life care.
This includes 24-hour elderly home care or hospice and palliative care.
“Learning about hospice care should happen long before there’s a medical crisis,” said Jon Radulovic, Vice-President of Communications at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (www.nhpco.org). “There’s a misconception that hospice is only ‘brink-of-death’ care and that’s not the case at all. Hospice works to help people live as fully as possible.”
The philosophy behind hospice care is for a pain-free and dignified death surrounded by a compassionate care team when someone is facing a life-limiting illness or injury. Hospice care might take place in someone’s home or at a hospice facility. It is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs and other managed care organizations. Palliative care is similar in philosophy to hospice care, but is for people who might still be in treatment for their illness.
Whether it is hospice or palliative care, there are many issues to consider ahead of time.
“Under hospice care, an extensive plan of care unique to every patient would be developed by the entire hospice team and would reflect a broad assessment of medical and psycho-social needs – the plan of care More >