Navigation Links
Let's talk: The nature of the health care surrogate-clinician relationship

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new study from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine examines the relationship between family members who make decisions for hospitalized older adults with impaired cognition and the doctors, nurses and other clinicians who care for these patients.

The researchers report that in this era of fragmented care, families rarely get to know even the names of the many clinicians who care for their family members. Even a physician or nurse who was especially supportive or helpful to the family might see the family member only once or twice. Family members usually remembered that the person was a doctor, nurse or social worker but often apologized for being unable to remember the person's name.

"The patient's care is often passed from one doctor or nurse to the next as shifts change. The patient may be getting high-quality medical care, but it is often very fragmented," said Regenstrief Institute investigator Alexia Torke, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine.

When hospitalized older adults have impaired cognition, family members or other surrogates must communicate with clinicians to make medical decisions as well as to provide information about the patient. In interviews conducted for the study, surrogate decision-makers were clear about the kind of support they needed: frequent communication, detailed information and expressions of emotional support from the health care providers. Surrogates said they appreciated this support even when it was often delivered by clinicians they hardly knew. Surrogates expressed their distress when they had to struggle for information or couldn't get frequent updates from the clinicians.

"Surrogate decision-makers are under a lot of stress from their loved one's illness, and they crave both information and support from those caring for their family member in the hospital," Dr. Torke said.

"Surrogates want regular and coordinated updates from someone -- it doesn't have to be a physician. The health care system will have to change to meet this need, and in future studies we will be looking at how this can be accomplished," she said.

In a 2009 survey of physicians, Dr. Torke found that communication with surrogates is often delayed or infrequent. The 2012 survey of surrogates suggests that delays or lack of frequency may be a cause of distress for surrogates. The new study, "Communicating With Clinicians: The Experiences of Surrogate Decision-Makers for Hospitalized Older Adults" appears in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study authors surveyed 35 surrogates who recently made a major medical decision for a hospitalized older adults. Eighty percent of the surrogates were female; 56 percent were African-American and 44 percent were white. Responses did not vary by gender or race.

Surrogates' relationships with clinicians were often fragmented and brief. "Even the presence of hospitalists may not make a real difference. They work in shifts and are unlikely to have had a relationship with the patient or family prior to admission," Dr. Torke said.

Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
Indiana University School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Mayo Clinic finds switch that lets early lung cancer grow unchecked
2. Mobile App Lets Tinnitus Sufferers Self-Treat Ringing-in-the-Ears
3. Cost of Snakebite Therapy May Squeeze Victims Wallets
4. Playfulness May Be Natures Way of Helping Romance Bloom: Study
5. Healthcare researchers recognized at SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2012
6. Color-coded labels improve healthy food choices in employees from all backgrounds
7. A learning health system moves from idea to action
8. Living Without Lies Might Make You Healthier
9. Defining tomorrows medicine - SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2012
10. Health care organizations quest for reduced costs and improved quality
11. Modest Weight Loss Can Reap Prolonged Health Benefits
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Let's talk: The nature of the health care surrogate-clinician relationship
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... American Family Care (AFC), the ... of a holiday pop-up clinic located in Metro Atlanta’s North Point Mall. The clinic ... and different way. The location is scheduled to operate through Dec. 24. , Holiday ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Danbury, CT (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Network (WCHN) today announced an innovative study designed to yield insights into how to ... potential development of biomarkers for pancreatic cancer from small, non-coding RNA molecules (ncRNA), genetic ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Cleveland University-Kansas City (CU-KC), in Overland Park, Kansas. Benson, a fifth-trimester ... University President Carl S. Cleveland III on October 16. , “Katie is very ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... American Specialty ... Program have announced their endorsement of the Medical Fitness Network (MFN), a ... proud to have the MFN as one of our endorsed organizations,” said ASH ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Dr. Kevin Day, local family chiropractor in Warsaw , is hosting a ... During the Indiana winter months, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder ... help provide the tools needed to combat it this year! , “Stress kills us,” ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 - Will ... Medical Education (CME) --> - Will ... Continuing Medical Education (CME) --> ... Continuing Medical Education (CME) ... products and services, will feature latest diagnostic imaging textbooks and decision ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 25, 2015 Research ... of the "Membranes Market - Global Forecast to ... Asia-Pacific , accounting for 37.21% of the ... Asia-Pacific region is projected to ... This growth has been attributed primarily to the fast ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 --> ... Lizenz für das Patent über eine neue Hepatitis-B-Behandlung, welches ... innehaben, an Enyo Pharma vergeben haben. Im ... gerufenen und von Edelris gemeinsam mit seinen Partnern Inserm ... für HBV identifiziert, und es wurden neue Inhaltsstoffe entdeckt, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: