Accompanying elderly loved ones to doctor can improve care

Alan Wu

January 24, 2012

Winter safety tips for seniors.A new study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that caregivers who accompany their senior loved ones to their doctor appointments can improve the care for the parent.

“Continuity of care is a central tenant of an effective patient-provider partnership,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Wolff, lead author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “Our study documents that the patient-provider relationship often includes a consistently present and actively engaged family member. This work suggests that quality of care improvements may result from more productive communication and education that targets both patients and their companions.”

The researchers discovered that 75 percent of the 9.5 million adults in the Medicare survey attended routine visits to their physician with a family member. These caregivers were there to directly communicate with the doctor, which increased the quality of care.

Caregivers who have full-time jobs along with caring for their own family may want to purchase a medical alert for their elderly loved one for when they are not around. This device can allow the senior to contact emergency services in the event of a fall or injury.

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