Nursing Home Insurance: Communication with Elderly Patients

Nursing Home Insurance Communication with Elderly PatientsNursing Home Insurance: Communication with Elderly Patients

Our population is aging in large numbers. Nearly one in five Americans will be over 65 by 2030. They go to the doctors nearly twice as many times as adults under 65. As a population, the sheer numbers of aging individuals presents a challenge to the healthcare industry. It is essential to develop a greater understanding of this population and work to improve communication.

Assuming patients are frail, dependent, hard of hearing, or unable to “get it” leads to a patronizing communication style that patients can find disrespectful. In communicating with elderly patients, avoid certain triggers. Automatically talking in a booming voice, addressing their child or person who accompanies them rather than the patient, or not taking the time to explain concepts to them indicates that you either don’t care or think they aren’t competent enough to understand.

Communication issues can be detrimental to an elderly patient’s health. Patients do not understand what they need to do for their own medical care, and they do not trust the physician. Take the time to sit down with older patients. Face them, and make eye contact. Even if they are accompanied by a caregiver, make sure to address the patient directly.

True to old wisdom, research indicates that the initial impressions are crucial. If you give your patients your undivided attention in the first 60 seconds with no distractions (shuffling paper and smartphones included), you can put them at ease and they feel as if you spend a meaningful amount of time with them. The most common complaints patients have about their doctors is they don’t listen, a key component of successful communication. Taking the time with older patients insures they understand their treatment, and builds rapport between doctor and patient.

It isn’t easy. Aging patients can experience sensory loss, decline in memory, and slower processing of information that comes with aging. Yet it is at this time in their life that older patients have the greatest need to communicate with their physicians.

We created the DigniCARE insurance and risk management program specifically for the senior living industry, which encompasses innovative solutions for assisted living facilitiesindependent living facilitiesnursing homes, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC). To learn more call (855) 883-6306.

Source: American Academy of Family Physicians

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