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Older Adult Patient Education Issues

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Older Adult Patient Education Issues
Lisa D. Johnican
Grand Canyon University

Older Adult Patient Education Issues
The more a patient knows about his or her disease and understands reasons and methods for treatment, the better off s/he will be in the long run even if that long run is fatal. Patient education has significant benefits, including the improved ability of the patient to cope with the inevitable, more satisfaction with the care s/he receives, fewer complications and better recovery. Teaching older patients about their illness and strategies to cope with it will help them to feel more in control and better able to make decisions. Elderly people want to maintain independence and control their own lives and deaths.
One of the best ways for older patients to have control over their health care options is through education. However, due to normal physiological aging, medical care professionals may have to change their teaching styles to adapt to the way older patients learn. Many older people deal with loss of functions that affect learning such as hearing and sight. When Alvin was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), he was aware of and understood the diagnosis. However, because of some hearing loss, those who spoke with him about it could not be sure if he understood. A few years later when he received the even deadlier diagnosis of bone cancer, his ability to understand what was being said was even more uncertain. His wife, Fern, said that she remembers when the doctor gave them the diagnosis; he spoke directly to her as if Alvin was not in the room. Fern found this rude because Alvin’s AD had not progressed to the state where he could not comprehend what was occurring.
The lack of inclusion or lack of respect is frequently cited by patients when they talk about...

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