Send your comments and tips to email@example.com
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr.
Boston Medical Center
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Cambridge Health Alliance
Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Ctr.
Children's Hospital Boston
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Joslin Diabetes Center
Mass. General Hospital
Mass. Health Law
New England Baptist Hospital
Short White Coat
Tufts-New England Medical Center
UMass Memorial Medical Center
University of Massachusetts
VA Medical Centers
A Healthy Blog
Running A Hospital
Nature Network Boston
SciBos - Corie Lok's blog
Nurse at small
Dr. Gwenn Is In
Healthy Children blog
Other Globe Blogs
Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Short White Coat blogger Jennifer Srygley
« Teaching brain pathology by hand | Main | Today's Globe: diabetes drug, prescription drug deaths, nursing home segregation, Russian 'day of conception,' cholera in Iraq, health insurance costs, anemia drug doses, medical errors »
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Questionnaire intended to help doctors treat older adults
Older adults have different concerns than younger people when they come to their doctors' offices, so a Boston coalition has created a free tool to help primary care physicians recognize and meet their needs.
The Boston Partnership for Older Adults, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has designed a two-page questionnaire to guide primary care physicians, who give most older people their care. The group is made up of 200 organizations and individuals concerned about the needs of older people in the city.
The focus is function, said Clare Wohlgemuth, nursing director of the Boston University Geriatric Services at Boston Medical Center and chair of the partnership's health committee.
"Those of us who work in geriatrics know that for older folks, their function is totally equivalent to how they perceive their health," she said in an interview. "What we set about doing was to develop a geriatrician cheat sheet for other primary care providers to think in a functional way."
Function for older people means how well they are managing a household, what their quality of life is and whether they have a support network. Common geriatric problems a patient might not raise in an office visit are falls, urinary incontinence, sexual activity, or the burden of care they might be providing for someone else, Wohlgemth said. A companion questionnaire, without the code numbers for billing purposes that appear on the physician version, is meant to help patients raise these issues with their doctors.
The tool also refers physicians and patients to Boston ElderInfo for information on other services.
The tool is not a substitute for seeing a geriatrician, Wohlgemuth said, but that might not always be neccessary.
"Not everyone needs a geriatrician or geriatric trained nurse, but every good primary care provider needs to have sensitivity to what the special needs of older people are," she said.