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Patient-Physician Communication During Medical Visits: Senior Adults’ Perspectives, Expectations, and Experiences

Author(s): Mehraneh Shantiaei

Background: Patient-physician communication is among the most important aspects of health care. Studies have shown the impact of such a communication on patient safety, patient satisfaction, treatment adherence, and malpractice lawsuits. Patient-physician communication is even more important where the patient is an elderly adult. The age-related physical and cognitive issues as well as some other factors impact elderly patient-physician communication in a negative manner.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate senior adults’ perspectives, expectations, and experiences regarding communication with their physicians during medical visits.

Methods: The study used a mixed-method approach, including quantitative and qualitative methods. 73 senior adults, age 65 and over, participated in this study. In the quantitative method, a survey was conducted, and the qualitative method included several face-to-face, semi-structured, and open-ended interviews to obtain the participants’ viewpoints and experiences in a more explanatory manner. The study was conducted in Los Angeles County in the United States.

Results: All the subjects believed that senior patients have particular needs and expectations during medical visits that should be taken into consideration by physicians. Moreover, the findings of the study revealed the subjects’ particular needs and expectations as well as their specific experiences regarding their communication and interactions with their physicians during medical visits.

Conclusion & Implication: The findings of this study can help physicians to better understand their senior patients’ attitudes and expectations. This will enable them to communicate and interact with this group of patients in a more effective way.

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