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Going to physician visits with older loved ones could improve care
Date:1/23/2012

to be consistently accompanied at one year follow-up.

Nearly 35.5 percent of accompanied beneficiaries were physically disabled and received help with daily activities from their family companion. Companions of these patients were more active in visit communication by providing information directly to the doctor (70.5%), asking the doctor questions (67.1%) and explaining the doctor's instructions to the patient (54.5%).

"Initiatives to improve older adults' quality of chronic illness care have typically focused on improving health care professional and patient competencies, and have ignored the fact that Medicare beneficiaries often manage their health conditions and attend routine physician visits with a family member, predominantly a spouse or an adult child," said Wolff. "Results from this study may help inform health reform initiatives that seek to improve care quality and lower costs, such as the Patient Centered Medical Home."

Previous studies have shown that Medicare beneficiaries who attend routine physician visits with a family companion are disproportionately vulnerable by age, education and health, and that their Medicare expenditures are twice as high as those beneficiaries who are not accompanied by a companion.


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Contact: Natalie Wood-Wright
nwoodwri@jhsph.edu
410-614-6029
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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